The weekend after ArT=Mixx, I was asked to bring the Colorbox to Camp IMUA, a weeklong experience for special needs kids on the west side of the island. With more support than I could have imagined, we brought the box out and I was immediately delighted by the smiles of 50 kids who were excited for the night’s event which would include fire dancing, silk dancing and the Colorbox. One of the silk dancers was Ayssa who I had just worked with as one of the models for the Colorbox at ArT=Mixx.
She and her mom have a custom built Tetrahedron which travels and is built in less than an hour as a 20 foot high structure to hang silks and perform the beautiful acrobatic and graceful dance wrapping themselves in the silks and stretching their bodies into beautiful form. As they had their structure laid out on the ground ready for build, and I had the Colorbox in pieces ready for the same, we sort of looked at eachother, “Are you thinking what I am thinking?”
It seemed obvious and exciting at the same time– two platonic solids made to support performers merging like getting “My art stuck in your peanut butter.” I didn’t know if they would fit, but Alyssa was confident and within a half an hour, she was hanging from the Tetrahedron dancing from the silks that dropped down inside the Colorbox.
As cool as this was to experience and be a part of, the best part was sharing the Colorbox with the kids. These are amazing kids who have gifts that are often seen and experienced as challenges. Some with brilliant curiosity carrying crutches, other shining smily faces through thick glasses, others peering at you as if they are hiding deep within their eyes… the line-up to get in the Colorbox required James to step in with his superman cape to play doorman.
As I stood inside with the kids holding my iPad that controlled the theme of the visuals, one of the kids, a young boy of probably eight wanted to know what I was doing. I instructed him which buttons to push to change the colors of the tracers that wrapped the silhouettes on the screens. This kid was quick, a future Digital Media Jockey in the making, and yet while he thought it was cool– he screeched in delight to his friend the moment he saw his own silhouette picked up on the screens, “Dude, it’s me!!! Look!!!”
And that summed up my joyful experience out at Camp IMUA. The kids got the core experience of the Colorbox, which is that it is you. You are the art. And in this day and age, we like nothing more than finding ourselves as the figure in abstract art. I’ve looked back on the ten plus years I’ve been committed to producing art– it’s often been abstract, but the core thread has been a search for the figure in the abstraction, the search for the self that we all relate to at times on the deepest of levelels in each of our journeys in life.