Cocoon in the Art Garden at Mississippi Museum of Art, March 24, 2012
Read more about the Cocoon international project here ….
photography Eric Etheridge
Sunday, March 4th @ 6pm
Join us! Bring friends and family!
We are proud to announce the selection of six incredible Youth Core Team members for Cocoon Jackson, March 12-24
The Youth Core Team is responsible for collaborating with Kate Browne, daniel johnson and Alison Brummer –
– in leading residents of the community to:
- build the 26 x 10 foot Cocoon Skeleton out of 48 Chinese Tallow Saplings
- weave the Cocoon Skin out of 1,000 stalks of Bamboo
- cover the Skeleton with the woven Skin and hang the Little Cocoons inside the giant Cocoon
- organize and set up for the lighted night time Ceremonial Procession through Jackson and the Illumination Ceremony of the giant Cocoon
- reach out to local people to participate in Cocoon Jackson
- welcome and support local people when they come to Cocoon site
- insure that all people are valued on the site and have an opportunity to participate in all aspects of the build
Funding for these 6 Youth Core Team members has been provided by Browne Barnes, Mississippi Museum of Art, National Endowment for the Arts, and Young People’s Project.
I had some time before I caught my flight back to New York and wanted to walk the Cocoon’s Ceremonial Procession route that Melvin Priester, Jr., a Jackson, MS lawyer, had suggested during a dinner at the Jackson Community Design Center. The buildings and sites that Melvin included in his proposed walk to the Mississippi Museum of Art are: Smith Robertson Museum, Alamo Theatre, Farish Street, Amite Street, Governor’s Mansion, Smith Park, Elite Diner, Mayflower Cafe and the King Edward Hotel.
Maps honor the past.
I ended up not walking the second dog leg because of my plane. It took 30 minutes to walk with 5 stops: 2 people asked me for directions and 3 engaged me in conversation. It was quiet and peaceful with some birds singing.
I want to hear from you — contribute your route for the Ceremonial Procession on the Cocoon Facebook page and let us know why it’s important to you. click here to post.
A possible route for the Ceremonial Procession of the Cocoon Skin
above route suggested by Jackson lawyer, Melvin Priester, Jr.
I have begun collecting lists of important historical places in Jackson, MS. I will use these in planning the route for the night time ceremonial procession of the Cocoon Skin (a joyous lighted march of the mats we’ve woven) through Jackson to the Cocoon Skeleton in the Art Garden.
I want to hear from you — contribute your important Jackson location on the Cocoon Facebook page and let us know why it’s important to you. click here to post.
Mapping History in Jackson, MS
With every Cocoon pre-planning trip elements rise to the surface and trigger a set of ideas and images in me. These shape my narrative and love affair with a site. In Cocoon Jackson maps are important. They are a visual history of place — layers of changes to a neighborhood sometimes happening over one hundred years time.
Language often fails us with history, but maps have a wonderful way of honoring peoples’ lives.
My desk at MMA with current and past maps of Jackson, MS — government, museum and Sanborn maps.
Each tells a story of Jackson — the Sanborn maps are the most detailed. With their dots, solid lines, Ds and Bs, they show real life — homes, porches, overhangs, businesses, thriving communities – they tell a history that is difficult to put into words.
March 12-24, 2012
I’m very happy to announce that I’ve been invited to build a Cocoon in the Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art with the Jackson community of Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties. I’ve just returned from a pre-planning week and know that this Cocoon will be a deeply meaningful and joyous experience. We’ll use local materials to construct the large Cocoon as well as make the Little Cocoons. During the build, I’ll record peoples’ wishes for their Little Cocoons and these will be audible inside and just outside the finished Cocoon.
Orientation for Core Youth Team — March 10 & 11
Cocoon Build will take place — Daytime, March 12-24
Ceremonial Procession through downtown Jackson — Evening, March 23
Illumination Ceremony, The Art Garden — Evening, March 24
Mississippi Museum of Art
The Art Garden
380 South Lamar Street
Jackson, MS 39201
Join our Cocoon Community on Facebook
… and post your thoughts and ideas about Cocoon.
What route should the Ceremonial Procession take through Jackson? What are the important buildings to pass by and streets to walk on? click here to post.
I will post up dates on facebook and welcome posts from past, present and future Cocoon builders.
These are drawings for the Mat March section of the Cocoon project.
Marcher wearing a light and holding a mat in Tlatelolco, Mexico City
Marchers with mats and lights crossing a levy in Greenwood, Mississippi.
Marcher casting light and shadow pattern on the Jackson and Melrose Houses in South Bronx, NYC.
The Mat March is when local people walk through the city carrying the mats or the skin of the Cocoon that has been woven in disparate parts of the city. Each person wears a light that casts the shadow pattern of the mat on the surrounding environment. Buildings. Trees. Parked cars. When the Cocoon is covered and the skin complete the wishes of the people are put inside.
In the places where I build Cocoons many people have marched for their civil rights and have put their bodies on the line, or have migrated, gone elsewhere to other cities, states, or countries. The Mat March is a re-enactment of that history, and asks the questions of the present city: How far will people walk today, how many layers of skin will people offer to safely enclose the wishes of the city?
All drawings by Kate Browne
… Michelle Alexander writes in the introduction to her 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
“Like his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, he has been denied the right to participate in our electoral democracy. . . Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation. His father was barred from voting by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Jarvious Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole.”
It is interesting to look at Alexander’s quote along side a 1966 quote by Lawrence Guyot (chairman of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party) and Mike Thelwell (one of the founders of MFDP), writing about the 1963 Freedom Election in Mississippi. Here 80,000 black people (who were unable to register) unofficially cast their vote in a parallel Governor’s election. By getting these votes a suit could be filed against the state for racial discrimination based on the 1957 Civil Rights Bill.
In The Politics of Necessity and Survival in Mississippi, Guyot and Thelwell write:
“In retrospect, this represented a confidence in the ultimate morality in national political institutions and practices–”They really couldn’t know and once we bring the facts about Mississippi to national attention justice must surely be swift and irrevocable,”–which was a simplistic faith somewhat akin to that of the Russian peasants under the Czars. Caught in the direst kind of oppression and deprivation the peasants would moan, “If the Czar only knew.” The fact was that he knew only too well.”
Wishes from 7th and 8th graders at Lou Gehrig/IS 151 in the South Bronx . . .
“For those innocent people who died for taking drugs to come back just to have a second chance to learn from their mistakes and to learn from their sins to don’t do it again. My second wish is to make the children see what their past generations have done with the drugs and take an end to it.”
“I used a knife, a pipe, actually it’s called a crack pipe, but let’s not get into that and a can to represent the cocoon and in the can are pencils and as you can see around it are two straws and the straws are me striving to get over the cocoon because the cocoon is the Projects that I live in and on the side of it are the drugs and the violence and only one person can get over that that’s why I did the loop around and over the top of the cocoon so I can get around that and get into a better environment than I’m in now.”
During the third week of Little Cocoons for the South Bronx I interviewed all 150 students and they made a wish for their little cocoon, and Eric Etheridge took their portrait and a photograph of their cocoon. These were exhibited at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and SCAN: Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network, and will be shown soon on this blog and You Tube.