Karen McCoy (June)

KAREN MCCOY

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“…If we can only take time to see the beauty in our world, perhaps we will be less disposed to destroy it…” Rachel Carson

Alternative Spacetime welcomes Karen McCoy June 17-21, 2015. On the 21st, the summer solstice and Father’s Day, Karen will undertake a solo walk, Dawn to Dusk, to mark the longest day of the year. During that long walk you are invited to join her for a special portion called the Sound and Sight Walk. To listen to our city in a more focused way, participants will use hand held listening trumpets carved from burls of Box Elder, Elm, Maple and Oak trees (image above). A burl is a tree growth in which the wood grain has grown in an abnormal manner due to an injury, either physical or microscopic. The event is free but participants must RSVP to reserve a place. Those who RSVP will meet Karen at a time and place to be determined (to begin approximately between 2p and 3p, at Kathy Osterman/Hollywood Beach) and walk for approximately two hours, returning to a picnic of sandwiches and drinks (provided by Alternative Spacetime). To see a list of other artists involved see below:

Events during Karen McCoy’s residency:

  • SCHEDULE OF EVENTS  JUNE 17th-21st
    (Numbers reflect RSVPs available. Space is limited.)
  • Wednesday 17th, Listening to “6018 North” with Karen McCoy
  • Friday 19, 3-3:45pm Yoga with Gina Fitzpatrick at AS1300 (6/10)
  • Friday 19, 7pm Live, Music by Angela James (10/10)
  • Saturday 20, 11a Reiki Guided Meditation with Laura Gilmore (5/10)
  • Sun. 21, 2-4p Sound & Sight Walk/Karen McCoy, Hollywood Beach  Due to a concert at Montrose beach, Karen will be moving her walk to Rogers Park. (0/10)
    Sandwiches and drinks provided to participants after the walk.
  • Sun. 21st, 4p Yoga Mala with Lauren Roads, Foster Beach  Due to a concert near Foster beach, Lauren will be moving her event  just north of the tennis courts at Farwell and Lake in Rogers Park. There is a small, yellow pole in the ground at the location. 4pm!(10/20)

More on Karen McCoy:

“I never would have imagined hearing spring through snow, but there it was, thanks to your ear trumpets. It gave me a feeling of hope and wonder.” (Lydia)

“I felt like a walking tree. The burl not so much amplifying sound as enhancing the quality of our presence in the landscape. Richness through timbre. Each wood, each instrument’s shape, a tesseract opening.” (Maureen)

“…like putting on a pair of glasses.”(Dillon)

“In a conversation with Karen, she described a stream, frozen over and silent to the unaided ear, the sound of water gurgling under the ice coming into focus only through an ear trumpet. Karen explained to me that if you hold a trumpet up to falling water, you can actually “hear individual strands of water rather than the general sound of the water falling into itself”.  (Caro–director at Alternative Spacetime 1300).

This June residency with Karen McCoy at Alternative Spacetime 1300 will also provide free group-meditation and yoga workshops, to help bring our minds into the present moment.  Our busy lives sometimes cause us to overlook the beauty of the world, Yoga and meditation help us more easily access these details.

More on Karen McCoy:

“My work has to do with making in relation to seeing and conversing with the world; with issues of perception, how and what we see as we seek to understand the workings of the world. I explore how we experience place and person by amplifying and intensifying ordinary phenomena, things there for everyone to see, but so woven into the fabric of the everyday that they are not usually noticed. I create places and situations for contemplation, for humans to gather, listen and observe. They invite us to slow down and allow us to increase our sensory perception. My work seeks to encourage an aware state of being. I think of Rachel Carson and her great influence on our thinking about the ways we understand the substances we use in our relation to the environment we inhabit. I paraphrase her words here — If we can only take time to see the beauty in our world, perhaps we will be less disposed to destroy it. To this end I seek a cultivation of the gentle and the simple— walking, digging, seeing, hearing, feeling, and putting parts together. My work supports the effort of understanding how things interconnect to make the world work by slowing pace enough to make sense of complexity. I want to transform simple natural occurrences into things mysteriously intriguing enough to inspire others to find their own sense of wonder all around themselves and at any time.” (Karen McCoy)

“The Sound and Sight Walk is based on contemplation of place, with emphasis on its sound as the focusing element. It will provide a variety of soundscapes from hardscape and traffic to birdsong and lapping waters. We will focus on discrete sounds by using hand-carved wooden listening trumpets (look up Beethoven’s ear trumpets). These are carved from burls of trees common on the east coast, Maple, Oak, Box Elder and Elm. A burl is a tree growth in which the wood grain has grown in an abnormal manner due to an injury, either physical or microscopic. The trumpets allow us to hear in subtly different ways. By placing an ear to the small end of the trumpet you may hear amplified sounds from insects, water flowing, and birdsong as intermixed, or separated from, the human-made sounds. The sights and sounds we are interested in are often so woven into the fabric of the everyday as to be scarcely noticed. Of central concern in this work is recognition of the importance of perceptual possibilities, of simple awareness. A cultivation of these facilities allows frequent conscious retreats from the usual patterns of our fast-paced lives, and nurture the human need to break from the often mechanical rhythm of contemporary life. The sight and sound trumpets provide a way of cupping our ears and eyes to the earth.”

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Karen McCoy is an artist and professor of Sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri. She is a member of the Walking Artists Network and teaches a class entitled Artists in Conversation with the World which is featured on the Smithsonian Institutes Conservation Education website. More of her work may be seen at karen-mccoy.com

KStraightenedCrp©Tania Kimche
Credit: ©Tania Kimche

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4 thoughts on “Karen McCoy (June)”

  1. Hello Subscribers, due to the music concert at Montrose Harbor, Karen and Lauren have moved their events to Rogers Park tomorrow (Sunday, June 21st). Exact location to be announced later this evening. Thanks for your understanding. If you have not yet RSVPed but would like to join the walk, there is one spot left. Sandwiches will only be available to those who have RSVPed. Thanks!

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