Spotlight on Lydia Kern

Lydia Kern

Lydia’s practice investigates the way that emotional ephemera can be embodied in the relationships between objects, space, and light. She’s interested in the blending of performance, installation, and material exploration. Dialogue with friends, personal and historical research, play, and material treasure hunts make up her practice. She graduated from the University of Vermont with degrees in social work and studio art, and creates out of the Hive Studios in Burlington, VT.

@lydeia
www.lydiakern.com

For Issue Two, Lydia responded to poetry by Mercedes Williams.

On the process:

In the first part of the poem, we are in a cafe, standing in front of a painting. As we move through the poem, we see multiple distinct points of view interacting with each other. I wanted to translate this effect by creating multiple ways for the viewer to move through/past the initial frame and to interact with the space of the installation. I started with the idea of a viewer looking at the installation through the presence of a blue frame that I suspended in the foreground of the scene. In the poem, the line “So I play” initiates a process of embodying the dream by interacting with the scene. This spirit of interactive play was embodied during the filming of the installation, as participants took part in real-life play and exploration of performative objects.

The friends interacting with the piece began riffing off of the way the citrus moved in space- impersonating what the oranges would sound like if they could speak. In this way, the poem kept translating itself in real time. I set the stage for this moment to happen, similar to the way the author in the poem set the stage for the poems imagery in the first stanza.

Another level of embodying the dream occurred in my personal life hours before filming the installation. A minor procedure was done to take a biopsy of a small non-cancerous tissue mass inside my breast. As I lay on the table of the clinic, my body being cut into, I couldn’t help but think of the clinic in the poem and the citrus orbs I had sliced into the night before. A technician placed a small piece of metal into my chest to mark the tissue mass.

Where are the defining boundary lines between installation, film, performance, and poetry? Where do the lines merge between viewer and participant, lived experiences and art work? I am thankful for and curious about the ways this project blended these phenomena.

On seeing Issue Two as a whole:

The realization that the poem I translated was written by a friend, Sadie, was a sweet one. It's interesting to me that I was “communicating” with her through translating her work, without knowing to whom I was responding at the time. The shared intention, energy, and pondering over the same poem created an invisible connection that was fun to uncover.