Activated by a triad collective of bodies, Maggie Schmiegelow’s ecofeminist project Radical Imaginings was performed at Sherman Studio Art Center (Columbus, OH) in May 2019.
Read Maggie’s thoughts on the work and her beautiful poetry:
Combining mediated body, sculptural form and responsive action, this work contends with the boundaries of biological experience and fantastical otherness. Imagined landscape serves as host for a bodily mining – a recognition of silent pleas seeping from the vessels which sustain us.
What does it mean to leave traces? Is it the crevices left behind by salt covered fingers, the shape of a body that was molded by another, or the documentation of ritual task? What about the traces that cannot be held? Can a trace exist in my lungs as I breathe out oxygen that was filtered through another’s lips? Or does that trace follow its origin and settle elsewhere?
My body holds information that I cannot access at will It comes out unsolicited in waves of memory and uncertainty an internalized code of existence that masks the way I engage with the world Years of absorbed narrative breathe within my bones What does the air know which floods my lungs? Does this air forget the moans it carried when it leaves? Where does it settle after me? What gets left behind for my body to absorb again? Can I breathe this remembrance back into the ground?
I always moved for others they never moved for me Does she feel my weight as I walk and ask not to be stepped on? If I listen closely I can hear her moan as she stretches and labors These sounds sink deep into my bones and call back a fragile strength that I have been taught to deny I try to answer her pleas as best I can stretching her limbs by moving side to side
I am touched more than I touch Can these be separate things?
My body quivered before my mind could feel it
The eyes the skin the tongue, ears and nostrils all are gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness
The isolated performance of Radical Imaginings occupied sixty minutes, throughout which this transcript was vocalized. In flux between moments of labor and respite, the three performers worked to locate themselves within this unfamiliar existence. Mobile, sculptural forms create space for manipulation, collaboration and re-imagination critical to understanding their place of residence. Schmiegelow writes about the work – “Radical Imaginings arose from my inquiry surrounding the storage of information in bodies through an ecological and feminist lens.” She describes the performance as a “real time exploration of the implications of imagination and the complex relationship between labor and care” .
Performers: Tara Burns, Emily Craver, and Yildiz Guventurk
Born and bred on Midwest sensibilities, Maggie Schmiegelow is a visual artist currently residing in Columbus, Ohio, as a Master of Fine Arts candidate at The Ohio State University. Employing digital media and performative action, she questions expectations of body as both a vessel of practicality and a substrate for ritual action. She embeds her work in feminist narratives and lived histories, mining stored memory and imaginings to point to the constant making and unmaking of one’s existence.
View more of Maggie’s work at Maggieschmiegelow.com.