For the past little while, a bunch of us in Montreal have been talking about starting an art coop. We've been having these lively meetings that have had us reflecting on what's involved in starting up a collectively run space. Amongst other things, we've been trying to come up with a name, have been talking about the kind of space we'd like to have and the sorts of values we'd like to express in a manifesto. During one of our brainstorms, one of the other members of our emerging coop, Leah-Garfield-Wright, came up with the tagline Anything is Possible-ness. I liked it so much, I "borrowed" it for High Alert and it's our current tagline.
Aside from being directly involved in various Montreal-based community initiatives,Leah's work has her engaging fairly intimately with the urban environment, creating wonderful installations that get people to stop and think about the spaces they walk through. Check out her recent LIBREary project. I asked Leah what Possible-ness meant to her and also what she was up to these days. Here's what she wrote back!.
(The post photo is of Leah's neighbor Gilberte, part of the Resistance, lived in southern France for 5 years and ate too much broccoli, still hates broccoli, laughs much.)
ME: What does Anything is Possible-ness mean? Particularly Possible-ness. What's that about?
LEAH: Possible-ness is the space in my imagination between what is and...something else. The more possible-ness in my mind, the more levity I have to bring me from the hurtful and nonsensical parts of the world--the heavy stagnant parts. It it only in the unmiring that I see the hurt and the nonsense more clearly, in greater context. When I stub my toe, it hurts and that is all I feel. But if I am imagining how to avoid it next time (have a steel-toed boots policy at my house? move more slowly? knit paddings, customized for all the sharp corners in my home?), then while the pain throbs away, I realize something about the pain. I realize I have two ways to deal with the pain. Either I will accept it, because, in the greater scheme of things, given the opportunity cost (i.e. hours and hours of knitting), a stubbed toe is just fine. Or, I will better understand the forces around pain, and that is how I could avoid or relieve it next time. So, possible-ness gives me perspective that enables me to accept or to change whatever heavy hurtful thing there is. The alternative to possible-ness is that you hold on to hurt. I'm not into that. It's boring!
M: Can you give me some examples in your life when you felt that Anything was Possible-ness?
L: Oh goodness, every day! The myth of scarcity is very pervasive.
M: Who in your community is a source of inspiration?
L: My neighbours. These are important relationships to me because it demonstrates the power of just 'being.' We don't know each other because of work, or family, or our interests or activities. We know each other because we 'are' here together, and this is enough.
Jean, dedicates hours to beautifying the front of his home in all seasons, a kind man who makes his own Bailey's Irish Cream
M: What are you up to these days and are generally stoked about?
L: There is a little happening in my neighbourhood that a few fairies and gnomes told me about. On the outside, it seems to be a book swap box, but it is actually a testament to the abundance around us, and to the spirit that lives beyond the material world. The first box was called the LIBREary and was stolen in early August, after an estimated 500+ books passed through in over the course of about 9 months. It has been replaced by 'Bibliotheque Version 2.0. Come check it out!