Lisa Anne Lindberg - Early Autumn - 2000's

Reviving Shallot

a multi-modal drama exploring masculine-feminine dynamics
 and the subtle abuse of power

by Lisa Anne Lindberg

- - staged 2005, San Francisco Bay Area - -

"The Lady of Shallot"
John William Waterhouse, 1888
Tate Gallery, London

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Welcome to our art studio where, as you can see, our specialty is weaving. If you look closely at our tapestry, you will see that we have woven it from fibers of many juicy art forms:  a mythologic story, paintings, music clips, video clips, non-fiction proclamations, puppetry -- and baton twirling ! !

See how our tapestry undulates around the room, starting right here beside this entry door, flowing along all the walls, in some places as uneven and bumpy as the terrain it covers. See how our tapestry explores our world's mass consciousness -- how the current imbalance in masculine and feminine dynamics has resulted in horrific damaging violence.  See also how -- in addition to the usual thinking of masculinity and femininity as associated with the male and female genders -- these qualities are actually within every individual person.   

About the story : over the years, many people have told us their stories about their lives. From these, we have created composite, mythologized, archetypes:  masculine and feminine represented by the starring roles of the Lady in White and the Man With the Carpet Roll of Secrets -- plus a handful of helpers.   

Look around the tapestry and see the glimmering silver and gold threads of their Greek-style soap opera -- and in Pre-Raphaelite period costume, no less. Follow along their high drama, scintillating dialogue, passion, lies, betrayal, pain.  See how the feminine archetype becomes mystified by turns of events, succumbs to despair, and goes into a Persephone-like descent to the underworld.  See how as the Lady in Rags, she sits for years in her Winter Garden, sad, feeling the bright lights of her heart and soul to have dimmed.  See how in her depth of despair she decides to Lady-of-Shallot herself down the river. . . .   Then ! ! See how she revives herself ! ! re-discovers a living, whole place in her heart -- redeeming herself to herself -- and re-claims her post as The Lady in White, Weaver and Boatswoman.  

Her story of emotional and spiritual suffering could be dismissed as merely soap operatics -- as self-indulgent, self-consuming,  psychic pain, which, in comparison, pales beside that of, say, victims of blatant, violent terrorism, torture, limb-severing.  And one must, of course, distinguish among degrees of suffering, and keep a sense of proportion about this whole mess of life.  But horrendous examples of the blatant mis-use of power are easy to point out, whereas -- despite the havoc its wrecks -- subtle emotional manipulation is harder to get a hold of.  And so we are offering you a story of subtle mis-use of power -- because in its very nature of hard-to-pin-point subtlety lies its great, insidious strength.  

Accordingly, we are offering you an inside-out tapestry, using a bright lamp to shine through the fibers, exploring this great theme:  "If all politics is about power, and all politics is personal -- rooted in our own personal emotions -- and if we all possess the choice to either use power well or to mis-use it, then in what lies the choice to use power one way or another way?  From where arises the need to thieve power from others -- to exert power-over in order to feel power-full?"

See how our tapestry wends its way all around the room and back to this doorway, then -- irrepressibly -- keeps going right on out the door and down the road, unrolling its multi-layered, multi-fibered, multi-dimensionality.  See how it carries us down to the sea and into the future, unrolling a feeling about being alive here on this Earth, a feeling that is deep and rich enough to give hope that life on this planet actually has a chance to continue, a feeling about being alive that :
- Welcomes and values the entire range of human qualities
- Offers the prospect of resolution of opposites without having  to compromise and feel "less than" one's whole self
- Can help fulfill humanity's quest for wholeness and integration
- Can say, "It's a big life" -- embracing it all


Lisa Anne Lindberg - Early Autumn - 2000's