Sunday, November 28, 2004

Elsewhere Tour

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
The long delayed tour of the top 2 floors of Elsewhere will take place today. Ross and I leave tomorrow for our road trip through some other areas of North Carolina and Tennessee and I don't think I'll be able to post as much as internet connections will be sporadic.
For the most part, I'll let the pictures do the talking. These are the stairs leading up to the second floor.

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
when you reach the top of the stairs, this is the hallway. The rooms of this former boarding house area of the building are full of thousand of more objects.

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
This giant pile of clothing is one of the most incredible selections of vintage gear I've ever seen and only a small part of the clothes at Elsewhere.

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
This desk is in the hallway of the third floor.

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
On the third floor there is a long thin hallway lined with very small, deep, skinny rooms. Each room has an installation in it. This chair has since been moved downstairs into my installation.

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
Beside the chair room is the room of mirrors. you can barely see the text that Stephanie chalked onto the walls as part of this installation.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Yellow Wallpaper

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
As promised I am starting the tour of Elsewhere. This room is on the 3rd floor.

"There are things in the wallpaper that nobody knows but me, or ever will. Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day. It is always the same shape, only very numerous."
Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Monday, November 22, 2004

road trip

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
Every single day I cross these railroad tracks on my walk to Elsewhere and I love this view when I turn my head to the right. I can't explain why but it makes me happy every time I see it. I've been here for 3 weeks and I've been so consumed with working on my installation that I've hardly spent any time outside of downtown Greensboro.
Yesterday I went an a road trip by myself down to Seagrove, which is a very small town on route 705 that's famous for pottery. On the way, I stopped in Ashboro and found the most incredible Antique Mall. Note: Antique malls are saving the small towns of America. This observation is by no means exclusive to North Carolina. Every road trip Ross & I have been on we take secondary highways and avoid interstates and freeways like the plague. This takes us through tons of little towns you'd never see otherwise and always there is a long, hellish drive through a mile or two of crappy little strip mall after strip mall before you arrive at Main Street. This street usually consists of interesting heritage buildings, sidewalks with trees, and is often a shell of its former self except for the antique stores. It's so sad. Greensboro is not a small town. It has a population of 300,000 yet the same thing has happened here. The other night I got lost driving by myself outside the downtown area and it was a total Big Box Nightmare! Without any outstanding landmarks I drove back and forth through a repetitive blur of Pet Depots, Bed bath & Beyonds, Computers Etcs - you catch my drift. I was very happy to make my way back to the beautiful old buildings and unique businesses on lovely tree lined Elm Street.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Obsessed: the Cabinet of Curiosities Speaks

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
I downloaded "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman the other day. I was really into that story when I was younger and spending time at Elswhere made me think of it again. I'll write more about it later because there is a room on the 3rd floor that perfectly illustrates that story. For now, let's just say if it was the 19th Century and I was diagnosed with hysteria, individually inking and stamping each letter in this sign would not be reccomended.

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
On Tuesday night I finally installed the dress and wig in the window. My piece explores the obsessive nature of collecting objects and the role these objects play in how we choose to order and present our memories, both real and imagined. I am transforming the window space into a fantastical room devoted to exploring the relationship between memory, fairy tales and desire.
I am asking people to look around Elsewhere and then write a response on a piece of fabric which I am going to incorporate into the installation.

installing wig
wall of albums
attention - work of art There's a big art event tomorrow night where they have a trolley that goes around town to all the openings so I'm hoping lots of people will come by for that. I've had some amazing responses so far. One couple came in and left a really beautiful drawing of a an open birdcage with a couple of feathers floating around it.
happy artist

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Big Picture

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
Finally, as promised, here are some pictures of South Elm Street and the exterior of Elsewhere. The building contains two addresses on the main floor (606 & 608)which are about 4,000 sq. feet combined.There are two more floors above so the total space is about 12,000 sq. feet.

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
My work at Elsewhere is an installation in the window (hmmmnnn a very familiar space and Ross, you will be proud to know that I actually washed the windows myself). Things have evolved considerably in the window since I took this photo and I'll post updated images soon.

Originally uploaded by jane1000.

People are incredibly friendly in the South Elm Street neighborhood. I walk to Elsewhere every morning and wave and smile at all the wonderful people I am getting to know in the neighborhood.

Originally uploaded by jane1000.

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
There is a huge mass of gorgeous fabrics & clothing at Elsewhere and I have have been spending a fair bit of time sewing and reconstructing some of the vintage clothing for my installation. You might wonder why I am wearing 2 sweaters, Glynnis' gorgeous hand-knit scarf, and my trusty Talula fingerless gloves.There's no heat at Elsewhere and it's been pretty cold the last couple of days.
Tomorrow I will take you on a tour of some of the crazy rooms on the 3rd floor and will introduce you to some of our neighbours.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

unbridled joy

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
This is Stephanie and George just moments after George handed her an object from her childhood. Moments of unbridled joy abound at Elsewhere.
I've been getting lots of requests for more photos so I'll work on that and try to get some up in the next couple of days. Huge thanks to everyone who's been checking in. It's great to get feedback.

qui voleur ma rose

Originally uploaded by jane1000.
Hmmmm. Not sure if I got the french correct but it's a line from Jean Cocteau's film, "Beauty & the Beast." Make no mistake - do not confuse this film with the insipid Disney version. Fantasy and desire are turning out to be important themes in my installation with fairy tales & fables playing a large role. This image is a wig in progress.

"Attention - Work of Art"/"This is Not a Work of Art

My project is starting to take shape and George was right when he said it would require about a week of time amongst the objects in Elsewhere to develop an idea. It's becoming clear that George, Steph and Josh are really curates in the historical (but not religious)sense that they are "guardians or protectors" of the objects collected here. I guess they are also curators in a modern sense because this space is a kind of informal collection of 20th Century history and they are working their way through documenting and ordering the objects. Interestingly, a curate is also defined as "one entrusted with the cure of souls" which I think applies here as well because I have always felt that found objects contain some trace or sense of past owners and like I said before there is a kind of Miss haversham-esque air of broken dreams to a lot of the stuff here.
The Elsewhereians have backgrounds in Literature and subsequently are interested in the relationship between object & text, which is influencing the nature of my installation. Without going too deeply into it, I'm taking on the role of artist as curator but instead of arranging objects to create a narrative or new meaning, I am manipulating a series of objects before I order them. I also really want to get the community involved so I'm trying to work out a way to do that.
I think I'll also end up referencing artists who have worked with text and I'm hoping that will be the way to draw the public into participating...

Sunday, November 07, 2004

3rd floor Elsewhere

3rd floor Elsewhere
Originally uploaded by jane1000.
This is the 3rd floor at Elsewhere. A virtual treasure trove of fascinating objects. I've spent a fair bit of time rooting through these boxes already and today I will be fine tuning my search to find a small box of plastic flowers that allegedly exists in here somewhere.

Greensboro College Art Show

Greensboro College Art Show
Originally uploaded by jane1000.
This is Stephanie, George & Josh at an art exhibit we went to last night by the art students of Greensboro College.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Beneath the Valley of Serendipity

Things started looking up when I saw 3 people at the arrival gate in Greensboro dressed in eclectic attire, holding open, brightly coloured, tattered umbrellas, and carrying a sign that read (ticker tape style), "This isn't the country we voted for. Let's go Elsewhere." I had found my people. My gracious and amiable hosts, George, Stephanie and Josh, took me to the Elsewhere space for a tour. Things were really, really looking up.

Elsewhere is like a dream come true; exactly like I imagined only a bazillion times better. I'm not sure I can accurately convey how amazing it is but hopefully the pictures will help. This is no ordinary thrift store. It was run for years by George's grandmother who apparently would ask prospective shoppers what they were looking for as they entered. If you answered, "just looking," you could essentially forget about buying anything there. The store was full of Collier Brotheresque tunnels of boxes that only she could encyclopedically negotiate. When she passed away, the family, understandably overwhelmed by the sheer mass of objects, shut the doors and left it as it was. A few years later, George & his colleagues came up with the idea of running a think tank, exhibition and performance space in the thrift store.

Nothing is for sale and nothing can leave Elsewhere which immediately challenged my urge to consume because I have never seen such a comprehensive and beautiful mass of vintage clothing in my life. Not to mention literally thousands of toys ranging in age from the 1930's or older up to almost the present day. The fact that all these objects exist in one location is the magic of this project. I could spend years making installations out of this material. I know exactly where to start, but I'm not sure where to stop will be so clear.

The main floor is quite organized but but the 2, yes 2, floors above are something else altogether. Some rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor are like Miss Haversham meets Tennessee Williams on acid. They are like "Baby Doll," "Blade Runner, " and "Se7en" all rolled into one. There's a room full of mirrors, one stacked several feet high with old army uniforms, and another full of several hundred more items of vintage clothing. As I spend more time there, I'll post photos of some of these rooms. Yesterday, I spent most of my time on the third floor, rooting through boxes and collecting objects for my installation. So far, amongst other things, I've amassed a box of ancient baby shoes, a bag of doll clothing, and a couple of '50s dresses that have seen better days. Today I'm going back in to find plastic flowers and crinoline skirts.