Over the course of 2011, more than 100 multimedia artists — including Montclair’s Stephanie Tichenor — are using news stories and headlines as raw materials to express their own experiences of reading the daily newspaper for 365 Days of Print. The project, started by Maya Joseph-Goteine, seeks to deconstruct and re-mix the news, providing a context and history to negotiate its significance.
During her month-long August “virtual” residency, Tichenor read the New York Daily News story of an 11-year-old missing New Hampshire girl who was found dead. She came across the article by following the work of her Montclair neighbor, Corky Siemaszko, who writes for the News. To convey the horrific tragedy, she used a piece of pink gingham, and sewed the face of a teddy bear into the center of a jagged black thread flower (pictured above).
Tichenor says the process behind this artistic interpretation was one of creating a metaphor. The symbolism of the abandoned teddy bear spoke to the her.
“As a mom, I don’t like to think about the bad in the world,” says Tichenor. “I didn’t want to depict anything about what the family or community might be feeling about the death of this little girl. I couldn’t bring myself to imagine what had happened to her, so I focused on the toys that were left behind.”
Tichenor says ever since 9/11, when her husband managed to escape from the Path station below the Twin Towers after the planes hit, she has avoided following the news. “This residency was good for me. I took it on as a challenge,” she says. “It has helped me make a bit more sense of the world.”
In her month-long involvement with 365 Days of Print, the Montclair artist used several other of Siemaszko’s Daily News articles, but says her collaboration with him was sort of a secret. “I looked at what stories he did, but he didn’t know what I was working on until later.”
“There are no parameters, artists can respond to particular articles or to the paper as an object,” says Joseph-Goteine on her site. “365 dop is about endless possibilities. Some pieces may be blindly indulgent, others destructive, kitsch, or desperate. On dull days expect a bland effort, other days the product may be energetic, tipsy or offensive.”
365 Days of Print has two upcoming exhibitions, described as “a visual catalogue of the struggle and challenge to process, respond to and understand the evolving media landscape.”
The first starts this Friday at the DUMBO Arts Festival (81 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY) on September 23-25, 2011 and the second is at NJ City University (100 Culver Avenue, Jersey City) on September 30-October 27.