What is the Easter Island Project?

Anakena: the Easter Island Project is the culmination of an interdisciplinary artwork spanning five years, seven cities, and the island of Rapa Nui. The installation will unfold organically for nine months at the Cooley Gallery’s Caseworks series and online at magdalen.com.

First I was a happily childfree woman. Next, a happy stepmom. Then I was walloped by the biological clock, a surprise attack that plunged me into deep grief and existential meltdown. Questioning my life path and belief in the sanctity of art and creativity, I invited audiences in the Northwest, New York, at Burning Man, and elsewhere to join me in exploring what it means to create. The “seeds” of creativity they made—tiny sculptures, writings, dances captured on video—are the true stars of “my” project.

A slow, arduous change occurred as I integrated the participants’ creations into the work and the generative urge into my life. Eventually I reached Rapa Nui transformed and very pregnant. A suitcase of “seeds” came with me.

“Anakena‚Ķ” documents the transformative process and shows the “seeds” themselves. I’ll be changing the installation at Caseworks every few weeks and telling the story online. The project’s 80-hour-long soundtrack, improvised in collaboration with Eric Hausmann, will also be available free online. I hope “Anakena‚Ķ” furthers the cultural conversation about childlessness and parenting in our culture, the human urge to create, and the ability of art to make meaning.

Immense thanks to all the participants and supporters who made this happen. The work is supported by a grant from RACC, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and by Viator Travel. —Tiffany Lee Brown

Photo: East case, first session of the Anakena Caseworks installation, August 31, 2012. Photo by TL Brown.


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