Friday, August 15, 2008

Another Journal

With the Sculpture project of Always Becoming, I kept a journal. It was a large, black artist book with blank pages. I filled it with phone numbers, pictures, mud-sand ratios and cryptic notes. The notes were a collection of thoughts that culminated into what the sculptures of Always Becoming meant to me, how I invisioned it's evolution and intent. The journal was intimate and at times probably too honest. The "honest" parts described the feeling of being overwhelmed when I realized the project of Always Becoming was BIG. Big in the sense that Always Becoming dared to express Native culture in a simple straight forward way. Big in the way a life changing lesson is BIG because that's what it did for me personally. Big in the way that Always Becoming had the potential to reach a lot of people with an important environmental message. Often I felt small in that kind of Big-ness. I realized this one morning when I was greeted by a dozen or so people ready to mix mud in the heat and humdity simply because they wanted to be a part of something taking shape. At times it was uncertain to me exactly what was taking shape. It's as if an unseen force was dictating the design and we there to witness, work and be together. There were days I was in awe of people's willingness to just trust the process of creating.

For me the larger question became, how to put this kind of event into a useful perspective? How do we use this information that deals with issues of creativity, process, environment and community? How can this type of community oriented art process reach a wider audience?

I've started another journal, this time it's about the documentary of Always Becoming and you're reading it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


In the Summer of 2007, on two small plots of land, near the busiest street in Washington D.C., an art project called,
Always Becoming began construction. For nearly two months in the heat and relentless humidity of a Washington Summer, a crew of eight along with a host of volunteers built five organic, ephemeral sculptures on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian on the Smithsonian Mall.

The experience of working under such unusual circumstances created an opportunity for a unique collaboration. Who would have guessed that mixing mud and layering adobes would also create a community and yet, that's exactly what happened. Children were encouraged to help mix mud with their tiny feet. People often arrived bringing food to share with everyone. Visitors to the museum gathered daily taking pictures and asking questions about the project. One afternoon a man in a suit came to the site and asked if he could help us. He put down his briefcase and shoveled gravel for an hour of intense labor. When he was done, he picked up his briefcase and disappeared back into the city. The kindness and support we received during those two months humbled me and reminded me daily that something grand was taking place. And in all of the activity- being on a noisy street, interacting daily with throngs of people - the sculptures got built.

So, as we prepare to make an hour long documentary revisiting many of the socio-cultural and environmental issues of this project, we welcome you to become apart of our discussion as we navigate through the next phase of Always Becoming.

Nora Naranjo Morse