Fayen d'Evie is an artist, writer and curator based in Muckleford, Victoria.
Fayen's six-month project will see her working in Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Washington and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) to explore how blindness can create new ways of experiencing artworks and exhibitions. In addition to undertaking a research phase based on the collection at SFMOMA and with collaborators including Georgina Kleege, an expert on blindness and art at the University of California Berkeley, Fayen will experiment and create works with various artistic collaborators in addition to developing her own creative writing.
What does being awarded a Creators Fund grant mean to you?
The Creators Fund grant has allowed me to lift ambitious ideas out of the hypothetical, and to profoundly deepen the complexity of my research. For example, I was able to invite choreographer Shelley Lasica and sound artist Bryan Phillips to join me in San Francisco, where Georgina Kleege was mentoring me. The grant has also encouraged me to activate new collaborative configurations, notably an exploration of vibrational poetics as performance, with choreographer and dancer Benjamin Hancock. We travelled to London a few weeks ago, where we worked at Chelsea School of Art with sculptor Aaron McPeake, who makes vibratory sculptures from bell brass, and wrote his thesis on adventitious blindness. The resources from the Creators Fund grant have allowed me to connect non-virtually with international artists with various perceptual experiences of blindness. This is of immeasurable value.
How important is 'time' to you, as an artist/creative professional?
Having ample time for art-making is the ideal scenario, but usually that ideal is jeopardised by the financial pressures that tend to compress studio time around other income-raising activities. Having time allows for risk. This grant has encouraged me to plunge into creative experiments that may fail, to trial unfamiliar methods, and to instigate encounters that are conceptually and technically challenging. Crucially, the openness of the grant is offering time to think, to rethink, to recalibrate the project, and to stumble beyond the superficial. After just three months, I have been astonished by the generosity of my collaborators and by the quality – and quantity – of audio, photographic, and video material that has been generated. I am a little overwhelmed right now as I embark on learning audio and video editing software, and the various zoom and voice-to-text accessibility modifications. But the calibre of conversation with my collaborators – and the conceptual leaps afforded through our experimentation – emboldens me to accelerate past thresholds of comfort.
What's the first thing you did when you found out you were awarded a Creator's Fund grant?
The first thing I did was tell my son, who celebrated with 7-year-old theatrics, and then I swiftly turned to researching air tickets.
What are you most looking forward to over the months ahead?
I am enjoying working with the surfeit of audio and photographic material that we have recorded and brought back from SFMOMA, and figuring out how those vibrational and textural moments can be crafted into narrative sound works and tactile prints. Trent Walter (printmaker) and I are starting intensive work on a tactile artist book based on photographs of an ascending meditation I developed for Bill Fontana’s sound installation ‘Sonic Shadows’. I’m excited about how the tactile screenprint and audio outcomes could innovate conservation, by retelling stories of the ephemeral encounters of bodies with artworks. I‘m also looking forward to evolving the experiments around vibrational and gestural poetics with Benjamin Hancock, the vibrational duets with Bryan Phillips (sound artist) and Anna Seymour, and sculptural wayfinding canes with two new collaborators, sculptor Jennifer Justice and sound artist Andy Slater, who I met via the San Francisco research.
Where would like to see yourself at the end of this process? How do you anticipate your career will develop as a result?
The research process has already generated terabytes of creative material, performative and sculptural propositions, methodological innovations, and new collaborative (ad)ventures. Since the process has vastly surpassed my expectations already, I’m reticent to project another three months down the track. But at the least, I hope that I will have launched some form of audio podcast of the encounters at SFMOMA, a series of tactile publications, and an array of other video, sound, and performance works. Perhaps most importantly, I hope that I will have activated conversations amongst creative collaborators, with and without blindness, internationally and in Australia, introducing critical positions that value attentiveness, sensory translations, ephemerality, vibration, wayfinding, absence, and hallucination.