Conversation Pieces

Timing for this project is ongoing, with pieces published as each curated conversation is complete and transformed into Audio and video format. I’ll offer these pieces online (Insta, fb, pinterest, twitter, tumblr, etc – share share share share to grow the conversation!!….) as well as in public spaces, for as long as they are relevant.

I’ll be talking with University Graduates who finished in 2020, front line LCBO and Beer Store workers, Grocery Store clerks, Inmates and Prison guards, Musicians, Performance Artists, Actors, Dancers, Filmmakers, and anyone else who wants to join me for a conversation about who and how we are, now.

The March 10 piece-in-progress, which will be further informed by my conversation with three recent University Graduates, two International Studies majors, and one English Literature Major. Their final semesters were all spent online, there were no graduation ceremonies.

There’s a complex, back story to this project and it’s porcelain coffee-set subject matter that spans 80 years and echoes with another difficult time, when the simple lives of workers in a village porcelain factory were suddenly and permanently changed by the Third Reich at the onset of WWII. (See blog posts for details).

porcelain on a ground of ever-shifting chaos

I have had a great time digging up what I can about the the names and histories of the people involved in making this hand painted set, the little village of 1300 people and its decimation as the war came to a close. The factory was founded by three partners who passed their shares down through three generations, only to have those shares confiscated and their descendants, workers and management at the factory sent to work camps in 1938, when Hitler was given Czechoslovakia in exchange for a promise to go no further. He went further anyway of course, and everything changed.

I bought this set for $25, at an auction located in a small village that’s more like a crossroads, in Grey County, Ontario, Canada.

Coffee sets are made for gatherings, and then conversations. This one had been used well enough that some of the hand painted gilding has worn thin in places, and a handle on the tray broken, then awkwardly glued back. I wonder what the replacement German workers, who would have painted this gilding while the war raged on around them, were thinking while they worked. Were their conversations whispered, or written on notes, then destroyed? How did they look after each other, the remaining villagers?

I love the inference of calm and peace, a moment of pleasure that the porcelain suggests, while the external (and internal?) world twists and roils and flashes all around. How do we human together, in times of adversity?

More to come, stay tuned.