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Saturday, July 25, 2015



The Buddha said it all...we live, get old, maybe sick and eventually we all die. While doing so, we take our life and our impermanence very seriously, suffering when we suffer and wanting none of the complications. When it is good, we want that to stay. When bad, we run and hide. This is technically called clinging, greed, attachment. All bad. All cosmic migraines.

As artists, we are given a clean and clear art-slate, empty of the words, feelings and opinions of others.......waiting for our genius to explain/explore our unique journey. As I aged, I began "getting" the Buddha and said, "Yes, I'm getting old, sick and can see death!" And good life-artist that I am, I made art/performances/videos about what is happening to me, literally, as I speak. 

This 4 minute, 4 day, 4 hour, 4 week, 4 month or 4 year workshop is a sharing of my process and invitation to others to play-life, play-impermanence, play- solution with me, as art. It is designed to be a quickie or a long term workshop-process, whatever is applicable to the site. There are 4 PHASES;

PHASE 1: OLD AGE:  One of the bug-a-boos of old age is the nursing home....a place that we fear, shun, don't want to visit or be in. A place we can smell without visiting! My thesis is, if I do it to myself, if I place myself in a fake nursing home , now, I can  deflect the trauma and also REHEARSE for the time I might have to go in one. If I play-act nursing home, then it will drain the event of its poison.
In this first workshop, we will watch my video, NURSE, NURSE   https://youtu.be/EctbZtb79_k and then in a safe community of co-performers, we will experience the mental and physical actions/states of mind of someone in a nursing home. For example, being fed, being washed, being walked etc. We will do those things  for each other, exchanging roles. GIVING/RECEIVING.  In this cauldron of woken up triggers, we will take care of each other, process feelings and write so that the information can be helpful and not trauma-causing. All four workshops will be carefully tended this way. Therapeutic touch, here we come!!!!!!!!
  We will not only perform actions but also will be making nursing home sounds and pleadings and coughs and  yells and calls to those walking down the "outside halls"; and we will be making wails of wanting and  desperation and regret. We will rehearse and practice being  un-masked, un-muted and heard so that a new courage can be born from the experience of our played out vulnerability. Practice makes perfect.

What would the Buddha say about old age? It is the attachment to the way things were; the firm muscles and un-cellulited thighs that creates suffering. Mourning the body's betrayal of itself via art, is a technique that the Buddha would approve of, I'm sure

PHASE TWO: SICKNESS: Sometimes we catch it...an illness that is,  and get sick.  Some people never do. For me, my life events are matter for my art......So when I "caught" cervical dystonia/torticollis, I went to the drawing board and made art, a video titled, DYSTONIA, like I always do when I don't know how to talk about what is happening, when I don't know how to feel.   https://youtu.be/lj9OlegCsBc My neurologist who gives me the botox shots in my neck every three months, collaborated by letting his assistant film the process. My Yoga teacher's home-schooled son, Jonathon, read the pain "story"in this video. It is a fable which softens the horror of having a neurological chronic disease! Art is medicine and a way to distance from the clinging to the  perfection of a body that never lies!

PHASE THREE: DEATH: Death, the last taboo. Our last performance. For a boomer westerner, death has always been an antiseptic and non-transparent muffling of the real. My husband was murdered, my mother faux-murdered by the AMA's radiation burns to her entire inner-abdomen, Jesus died on the cross, Dad was injured by an incompetent PT who caused him to have a hemorrhagic stroke which he wobbled around with for 3 final years! I couldn't escape the Grim Reaper and didn't understand how to be or feel about him/her. In 1978, I made a video of my reaction to MITCHELL'S DEATH, in 1997 I went to Benares and recorded the burning ghats.     https://youtu.be/2vG10Mgtcwkin     In 1997 I wrote a paper for a lecture that eventually became a video  titled LIVING ART, DYING ART. I was always obsessed with death and thought of it as a metaphor for my unresolved emotional unhappiness, my wanting to die, my need to bow out.  Making art about death instead of Steven Kinging myself via a tragic and bloody endgame, has kept me quite busy.

In this workshop, we will explore the real aspects of dying; living wills, power of attorney, green burials. But more importantly, each participant will write an obituary and lay in state, on view, in a self-designed way and with visual accoutrements that are conversant with their need, style, safety. Would that be fake silk flowers or butterfly wings? The obituary, which can be read to the person lying-in-state by another workshop participant or recorded on iPhone,  can either ditto the life of the participant and be an actual "read" or the obituary can be a big lie and have total non-credibility but be healing in it's transformative illusion. That is, it can match their life, as-is, or it can be a look at their life as-they-would-like-it-to-have-been. Basically, an art-lie lifts the truth to a better and higher truth.
Again, the Buddha applauds flowery visualization and stretchings of the truth, I'm sure.

PHASE FOUR: AN ANTIDOTE:  The Buddha talks about clinging, and the mind as a dangerous trap and memory and greed and desire as the cause of suffering. His antidotes? Meditation/visualization/prayer/nature. But, as we all know, there are 49,834,635 techniques to move us out of the monster hall of mind-fame. My choice has been performance and video. In this last workshop, I will share STARVED SURVIVORShttps://youtu.be/NZcZWN2YFkI a video I made which flowed out of a day/night dream into real time. This video references fairy tale and stream of consciousness and the underground. In the past, that is the 1970's, I left my own life and it's true and bizarre and scary story by getting out of my "skin" and  taking on different personas. LEARNING TO TALK, and MASKS were the results of this self-therapy. I have also found that writing copious fairy tales have also been a way to re-boot, re-calibrate, re-see and re-sell my tainted autobiography to myself so that my past life choices don't sting and hurt so much.
We become re-deemable via the fairy-tale. We re-visit trauma and PTSD and fictionalize injustice and make the enemy pay. We re-purpose the neuro-chemistry of our brain, dragging sordid memories out of the depths of hell into bearable, creative dark. We look at  situations, make up a struggle and then find fabulous solutions, much better than the life we are leading! And guess what????The mind loves this and gets out of the rut of it's obsessive self-hate and runs toward the filmy, hazy, get out of jail .........light.
Buddha, thanks for playing with me.
Linda Mary Montano. Saugerties NY 2014
If you want to sponsor a series of four of these workshops, let me know.
Tobe Carey edited all videos which are free on You Tube.    

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