Re-Writing the Stars

Added on by Whitney Polich.

Want to be part of an art collaboration?

As a child, my siblings and I built forts outside fashioned from sticks and sheets – magical places where imagination and reality blurred the boundaries between what we could hold in our tiny hands and those things too large or too shapeless that we could only pretend to hold. Our forts were embellished with small treasures who’s only worth was in the fantastic stories we made up about their use, symbolism, and history. At night, we would camp out in our forts watch the stars and make up more stories about epic battles, bizarre creatures, and mythic beings while shining our flashlights across the moving fabric. These experiences eventually led to a deep understanding of place finding its roots in mythology, imagination, and poetry as we attempted to explain and understand the vast world around us.

I intend to create a similar experience as a site responsive installation at the Northcutt Steele Gallery. The installation will be a constructed environment allowing adults to rekindle a similar sense of wonder, imagination, and experience of place-making. Galaxies, stars, and most specifically constellations are a means of delving into these questions about defining our place in the cosmos with a poetic, non-scientific voice. This work attempts to blur the boundary between the physical (real) and the non as a way of opening space for new possibilities of explanation.

One part of this project includes “star maps”, which are fictional constellation drawings made from rocks on paper. As a collaborative project, I’m looking for anyone interested in writing an imaginary myth for these constellations. The structure can be either narrative or poetic and must be highly imaginative. Have fun, be weird - nothing is out of bounds. The plan is to then create and publish either a book or a zine (depending on cost) for the show, which all participants will be credited in.

Many constellation stories were created for practical navigational purposes and as a means of recording oral history. Often regarded as folklore, the stories are historical, spiritual, and are typically embedded with a moral or a way of explaining the unexplainable. Many cultures, even going back to ancient cave paintings, have made the ungraspable nature of floating galactic matter more tangible by creating meaning through these stories.  

I highly recommend reading "Things That Are" by Amy Leach. It is the most imaginative, entertaining book of wonder-full essays attempting to explain the world and all its phenomena around us – place making at its most playful. This will help to put you in a mindset of breaking out of the norm! Invent words, invent creatures…explain this world as if you didn’t know it. 


Here's how to participate:

1. Pick a constellation below.

2. Title with the month listed below the photograph.

3. Add your title for the constellation in "_____".

4. Write a story, a poem, a song, a haiku; something giving a human order to this seemingly random scattering of dust. Your writing can be mythical or personal. Maximum: 500 words

5. Sign with your name, age, and geographic location. (OPEN TO ALL AGES- please scribe for those to small to type and if you prefer to remain anonymous just omit your name). 

6. Copy and paste into a blog comment below and I'll sort them all according to their correct star map. 

(see my example at the beginning comment)

If there is any issue uploading or you want to preserve formatting please email your story to me at whitneyelisepolich@gmail.com

No closing date, but I'll start with the first publication in October...(ish). Stay tuned for updates and to check out what everyone is writing!

THANK YOU!!!! - oh, and don't forget to tell all your friends.