Photo by Michael Norquest

Freedom: The Rules We Live By

For their Passover Community Seder this year, I was asked by the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center ( SIJCC) to create an interactive art installation on the topic of freedom. At first, I kept thinking of erasure — erasing all the rules, throwing off bonds, etc. But as I thought about the concept of Freedom, especially within the Jewish context and especially within the Passover context (the next step after the dramatic Egyptian escape is receiving the Ten Commandments!), it was clear that freedom is as much about taking on rules and constraints voluntarily. Indeed, freedom within an essentially free society means choosing which rules to follow and which rules to ignore.

Of course, another strain to this is the trope of guidelines and rules that artists have voluntarily made for themselves. Perhaps this is the most famous, Sister Corita’s Rules at the Immaculate Heart College Art Department (often incorrectly attributed to John Cage):

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Here’s another example I found after a search online, Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s How to Work Better

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There’s wasn’t time for the SIJCC project to do a ton of background research, but there are ton more where these came from, that I have already encountered and am now trying to refind and collect; please do send me some if you encounter them yourself.

Anyways, for the Community Seder itself, I wanted to do a small and sweet ritual which would honor the voluntary bonds that we take on for ourselves every day of our lives, whether it is artistic, emotional, religious, social, etc. So I bought a ton of ribbons and invited guests to write down the rules that they lived by on the ribbon and we could tie them up in the SIJCC courtyard. The bright mural of the courtyard of course provided a fantastic backdrop.

Head-Picture

This photo and head photos by Michael Norquest

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Photo by Michael Norquest

IMG_5141-girls

collaborative art, community, jewish, interactive, art, installation

Photo by Janice Mautner Markham

Photo by Janice Mautner Markham

Photo by Janice Mautner Markham

collaborative art, community, jewish, interactive, art, installation

Photo by Janice Mautner Markham