Solid Air
Performance with ritual text by Gwyneth Zelany Anderson & movement by Gwyneth Zeleny Anderson, Amanda Bowles, Andrea Freeman, Rachel Hermann, Amelia Jones
STNDRD, 2018, Granite City, IL

Flag of reclaimed vintage china silk from color guard flags, thread, rope, flagpole
dimensions variable up to 12’ long

Solid Air is imbued with the actions and words of a ritual that manifests energetic transformation. Change is continual, yet transformation can be witnessed through observance of tangible residue such as the shedding of a snakeskin or the ephemeral setting of the sun. Pieces of china silk, once used as marching band flags, re-configured with dressmaking techniques become ritual objects in evocative spectacle.

Six streamers, each double the length of the STNDRD flagpole wrap six women who are the instruments of change. The women help each other shed their wrappings and attach them to bamboo sticks for a parade down the street in Granite City, passing by a crowd that is participating in another transformation ritual as artist Cam Fuller invites others to demolish his undrivable truck with a sledgehammer.

The percussion of the busted metal propells the momentum of the spectacle which continues down the block to the site of the STNDRD flagpole. The movements of the women propel the streamers through the air and the site is filled with color and form and the intention of energetic transformation. The streamers are then attached to the flagpole and the women stand at the foot of the pole, holding the flags in the air and they perform Gwyneth Zeleny Anderson’s call-and-response text in which they invoke active listening to the sounds of the space around them: the sound of the air, the sound of the earth below them, the sound of those in this world who are yearning for change.

The pole is wrapped clockwise as the women walk through tall grasses and wildflowers surrounding the pole, and another text is spoken before the pole is unwrapped. This unwrapping is not easy, as the group of women struggle to remove part of the fabric which has become snagged on the flagpole hardware. This struggle continues while the women hiss like snakes in mutual encouragement before managing to unravel the fabric once again so it can be bundled loosley and tied together, symbolizing unity and left to blow in the wind for two months as a reminder of the work we must do together to bring about desired change.