One Million Bones Update

Update to the One Million bones project that I participated in at UNC Charlotte.

I will start with sharing that any art making process is a good process. Especially when one knows it has the power to change. 

Indrani Nayar- Gall did a fantastic job organizing the event.

I entered the sculpture room where a handful of people gathered. There were a series of 3 bone making sessions for 16 individuals, a potential for 48 participants. Each session lasted 45 minutes. My session had 8 attendees. The remaining two sessions each had a handful of participants. I did not see many "young" and or students making bones. Where were all the students?  Are students not interested in global issues? Are they too busy with the ins and outs of their own existence that they won’t take the time? And if they did have the time, would they have more readily made a bone in their own home in isolation with a software program on a computer screen? If the creator of One Million Bones, Naomi Natale, used a more conceptual approach would it have broadened the participation? Is there a difference hand making something the "old fashioned" way, with good old clay, water and your hands. Is there a difference between old school and new school methods when it comes to change through art? 

 I recently read a review in Art Forum of Stephanie Syjuco's work at Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco. She is a conceptual artist. The review speaks about the accessibility of new media and how we as artists should seize the moment.  Syjuco  created an installation where she printed many digital prints of Asian pottery from the Asian art museum, where she then mounted the prints on wood cutouts which were then set on top of crates and shipping containers. The piece was a comment on how much of a museums collection is only accessible through the cyber world. This brings me back to the point that what if these bones were created by a printout which was then mounted on a hard surface? Would Naomi Natale have reached here one million in say a week over the current two plus year long struggle? Would people's level of consciousness be any different than of those who created a bone using more "traditional" approaches?  

For me, it is the tactual experience of making. The physicality of the object. Just like the physicality of the body and of life. We are so removed from real world experiences that translate in real life making, the touching, the feeling. 

The bone I choose to make was the pelvic which was rather complex in shape to choose for this project; however, it seemed the perfect metaphor for life--the bone that holds life; the bone that glues the top of our body to the bottom. It is the center. It is where East meets West where North meets South. Where we meet them. Where they meet us. In the end, I left my bone. I left the workshop. But I held the experience, I held the empathy that came from feeling the surface of the clay, the shape, the making. And in the making, I felt: I felt the birth and lose of life in one, forty-five minute session. I pictured my bone with the one million others made from clay not printouts or the "idea" of a bone. I pictured myself, my son, my family, my community, my world. 

© Sally Jacobs 2011