a letter from resident artist Kimi Eisele
I’m enchanted and alive with your offerings. I am originally from Pennsylvania but have lived for the past 18 years in the Sonoran Desert, the most biodiverse desert in the world, but a very dry place (Tucson gets on average 11 inches of rain a year). I am standing on my head in Sitka, a completely different ecosystem, and I dig the view from here.
I experience and respond to the world through words, movement, and images. My work, in all genres, tends to be about expanding our sense of community to include other species and learning about our humanness and the range of our capacity for empathy and love by doing so. I care a lot about species loss and loss of culture and livelihood due to climate change and corporate greed and shortsighted political decisions. But I am an optimist and believe in love and endurance. I am an improviser at heart, learning as I go. I need solitude but I am very social and collaborating and learning from others always a part of my process.
During my stay here I’m looking to create my own work, offer workshops in the community, and collaborate with some of you on a project. I am aware of both the gifts and hurdles of being a visitor/outsider. I come with fresh eyes and open ears.
My own work will be focused on writing short fiction (a thrilling form after just completing a long novel project), papercuttings, drawings/watercolors, and photos and video (with my trusty iphone).
I’m also working through Andrea Olsen’s beautiful Body & Earth book, a practice for embodying place.
I am interested in engaging with you in the following ways:
1. Investigating the yellow-cedar tree through science and art. I’d like to a) convene some discussions around this species, an important member of this community, to learn more about its significance and about how climate change is impacting it, b) organize some experiential learning walks to spend time with/ “converse with” / observe / respond to yellow-cedars, and c) build a series of creative & collective responses (in a variety of forms) to the tree.
2. Sharing my work in Compositional Improvisation, a fully embodied practice of composing (individually and collaboratively) with movement, text, sound, and space in the moment to create dynamic and fully realized “pieces” without rehearsal or planning. This is not the same as Contact Improvisation, thought that can sometimes happen too . No dance experience is necessary for this, but you should at least like to move your body a bit. It also suitable for writers and other artists as it offers a beautiful method for arriving newly at the page, the canvas, or life itself.
3. Offering a shadow puppetry workshop (or several) to people of all ages. This is a beautiful, simple, and ancient form to share story though shadow and light. This could either dovetail with yellow-cedar investigations or be its own thing.
4. Learning from and offering workshops to StoryLab students and students at Pacific High school.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have ideas and/or interests in these or other areas. I am eager to get out kayaking (invite me!) and am available for hiking/walking, dancing, playing or conversation. I eat fish, too!
Look forward to getting to know you,