Ann Hamilton / SITIcompany THE LIGHTHOUSE day 1

Jun 23, 2014

Here is day 1 6/22/14 #TheLighthouseProject
We are excited to begin, hard upon the intensive four weeks of our summer program at Skidmore, our new project with Ann Hamilton who is in residence here with us this week in West Fulton.
We met at Anne’s house at 1:30 p.m. yesterday, Sunday.  Company members made it by train, bus, and rental and are staying in Anne’s house, Barney’s house, Ellen & JEd’s house, and Stephen’s house. Some arrived the night before and had a welcome dinner and a movie night at Stephen’s.
When we gathered at Anne’s we were delighted to find GM, Maggie & Sebastian in the driveway.  Tom was there too still sporting his “magic man” Sam Elliot mustache & soul patch from his celebrated TEMPEST run.  
We gathered in the kitchen and nibbled the spread Anne and Rena laid out for us and said Happy Birthday to Ann Hamilton! What a good feeling to see her again and to celebrate. Now Anne B. laid out the idea for the day.  Today was about hearing To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.  The day-long assignment was explained like this:  
1.  For the first hour we were to individually and collectively make the space of Anne’s barn.  The words and phrases used by Anne & Ann were “spaciousness”, “lightness”, “living space”, “room”, “interiority”, etc.  As a group we were to create a space where the reading could happen.  Anne referenced the work on ROOM from many years ago.  She required that the red chair used by Ellen in the making of ROOM would be the designated chair in which the reading of To the Lighthouse would happen.  We would share the reading.  Each reader would move the chair to a new place in our “spacious house” and the listeners would adjust to listen.  While working to make the barn into the reading space we could speak only in working mode – that is to say, no social chat.  We could speak about the task at hand only, help each other moving things.  While outside the barn we could speak more freely while gathering props, picking flowers, refilling our coffee mugs, resting and watching.  
It was a very purposeful and thoughtful hour of “making.”  People wandering and designing to their own tastes only to return to see something had moved.  Really a beautiful and organic creative flow.  Ann Hamilton spent much of this time ironing in the space ALL of the white sheets that Anne and Rena have in the house.  Brian would later pick this ironing up during the reading.
2.  After the hour, we had the barn designed the way we wanted it, Anne B. gave us the cue to start the reading.  Rena was the first reader and sat the chair upstairs in the barn where Ellen had placed the chair years ago to make ROOM.  There is a quality of remembering in the choice – a historical and practical way to begin.  After about 45 minutes of reading, Rena passed the book to Ellen who took us to another place downstairs in the barn.  And so it continued, then to Bondo, and to Tom, and to Stephen where we finally called it a day at 6:30 p.m.  We made it only through about half of the book.  It’s longer than I remembered it.  
And so the dreamy fabric of the mind of V. Woolf unraveled through the day through these voices.  Then to the red house where Ellen and JEd created a fabulous meal for the entire clan.  And of course the day finished with the circle of glowing faces around the fire and a flaming birthday cake for Ann H.
3.  Today, Anne B. gave the assignment for Ann H. and 2 others to arrive at the barn at 1 p.m. to create a “living room” for the rest of the group to inhabit to begin discussion about what we learned during yesterday’s readings and a group think.  We’ll continue reading To the Lighthouse the last 2 hours of the day.
We are enjoying the friendly, soft, not over warm first days of summer together here. Even as we unwind from the hard work of SITIsaratoga, as muscles relax, and the aches and pains calm, we begin to unravel and experience a new way of working and an easy camaraderie.  
Follow us for more updates at the week progresses.