On August 16, my Aunt Dorothy celebrated her 85th birthday and when I asked her what she wanted she responded, “let’s go to the casino in Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday!” Aunt Dot had received an invitation from the casino to come celebrate! A free t-shirt […]
Author: Lynn Marshall Linnemeier
Product / Service Categories Project Name Talk about this portfolio piece–who you did it for and why, plus what the results were (potential customers love to hear about real-world results). Discuss any unique facets of the project–was it accomplished under an impossible deadline?–and show how […]
After spending years in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, the second oldest incorporated municipality founded by African Americans in the US, I am now working on a Journeys Project in Eatonville, Florida, the first incorporated African American municipality in the US. Eatonville is also the town where celebrated author and anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston often lived and worked. The people of Eatonville inspired her work, which she wrote about often.
The Journey Projects will collaborate with the Zora Neale Hurston International Museum of Fine Art to present an exhibition that celebrates the residents of Eatonville and its ancestors, including Zora Neale Hurston and Deacon Jones. The project, which began in September, includes gathering photographic images from Eatonville residents to be included in the artwork, working with local youngsters to create cyanotypes on fabric that will also be included in the artwork, and collaborating with organizations to commemorate and honor the townsfolk and Ms. Hurston.
I have gone to Eatonville twice. It is a beautiful little town, which Ms. Hurston describes as "the city of five lakes, three croquet courts, three hundred brown skins, three hundred good swimmers, plenty guavas, two schools, and no jailhouse".
Thus far, I've attended community meetings, gone to church, walked with a local walking group, lingered at an historic property on Lake Sebelia, hung out at a local tavern and so much more. I've learned a lot from stories and conversations. I return to Florida in a couple of weeks. Like the Journey Projects on Facebook to keep up with more frequent postings.
Reposting: Angels In Straight Jackets is a multi-media installation that will feature sound, performance, projection and video centered on three textile- based mixed media sculptures. It is a collaboration of three artists and scholars: mixed media artist and “visual mythographer” Lynn Marshall Linnemeier, of Atlanta, […]
THIS FROM AN EARLIER POST: Redressing the Stone brings together members of the Lithonia, Georgia community as they collaborate with artist Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier to create an Agan for the community. The Agan is a masquerade costume that is used in an Egungun masquerade in Nigeria. […]
Mab and I traveled to Milledgeville in June 2011 to discuss plans for a possible exhibit. Upon entrance to the hospital I found myself surrounded by death and decay; Central State had been closed for the most part since 2010 but many of the buildings had been abandoned for years. Vines covered a number of the structures and some had missing roofs.
I visited the grounds of Central State Hospital several times over the course of designing the installation but nothing impacted me more than the cemeteries. Hundreds of metal markers greet visitors at the grave site entrance of the main cemetery, Cedar Lane. According to Alan Judd of the AJC: “For decades, patients at the state psychiatric hospital in Milledgeville were buried on the facility’s grounds, their graves marked only by a small metal stake. Groundskeepers tossed as many as 10,000 stakes into the woods in the 1960s, leaving the graves forever unmarked. In recent years, patient advocates have placed several hundred recovered markers in a memorial at the hospital’s Cedar Lane Cemetery.”
The metal markers at Cedar Lane reminded me of Arlington Cemetery in Virginia. But this graveyard was different because it held the remains of over 25,000 differently enabled persons. As I walked down Cedar Lane, every now and then I would see a headstone but for the most part, just trees and sunken earth, evidence that someone had been buried there. Cedar Lane Cemetery, along with the African American cemetery, is one of (if not) the largest burial ground for differently enabled persons in the world.
We have no evidence that Mary Roberts was buried at Cedar Lane Cemetery and not much is known about many of the 25,000 who rest there, but I knew that I had to create an installation that would remember and honor all of them. After reading the intake documents from the file of Mary Roberts, I knew that she would be my vehicle and I used her voice and my memory to channel her spirit.
Excerpt from intake examination:
Why were you sent to this place?
What had you been doing to make them think you were crazy?
I was at home praying.
Were you very much excited at that time?
Yes sir. I would pray, shout and sing and then sometimes I would cry.
What do you think of yourself as compared with other people?
I don’t think I am better.
Do you think you are a Missionary?
Do you think you are especially appointed by God?
How long have you felt that way?
A long time.
Do you think that God has especially appointed you to preach for him?
In what way did he reveal that thought to you?
I can’t exactly tell.
Have you any property?
Do you think you are rich?
No sir, I know I aint rich.
Do you think you can do anything better than anybody else?
Has anything strange happened to you?
No sir, not much.
At about the time that I started working on the Wolf Creek Project in 2011, Mab Segrest contacted me about another Journey Project for Central State Hospital. When we met in 2011, Mab was Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at Connecticut College. I knew very little about Central State […]
It’s been a while since I’ve written on the Journey Projects blog. In fact, it’s been over six months! ‘So what have you been doing since you last posted’ you might ask. Let’s see if we can’t catch up.
Beneath the Ogirishi Tree, the Journey Projects at Wolf Creek has been installed! The Wolf Creek Library opened on September 8! I am currently working on Angels In Straight Jackets, Exalted on the Ward, a site-specific installation for Georgia College and State University that will open on January 20, 2015 in Milledgeville, GA. This new work remembers those interned at Central State Hospital, a state mental health facility founded in the mid-1800’s. More to come on this project.
So many people were employed on the Wolf Creek project and I was so happy to pay artists for their work. Jason Smith and his crew at Smithworks Iron and Design brought my vision to life through their fabrication of the Ogirishi Tree, which greets visitors upon entering the library.
Pierre Coiron of Stability Engineering was structural engineer for the project. The trunk, legs, benches, and branches all had to be precisely placed to ensure stability and safety. You should check out the engineering firm’s work on some major architectural projects in Atlanta and points beyond.
When entering the lobby of the library you can see the tree in the distance and the light from the surrounding landscape through the wall of windows. Leo Daly & Associates designed the building. I remember envisioning the tree when the space was just forest. To see my vision come to light. to complete the project on schedule despite setbacks tried my nerves at times but overall the journey was magical. I continue to push the boundaries of what I imagine and what I can do with this life that has been filled with making things tied to memory and myth. More to come…
I first met Manoj Purushothaman at the Alternate Roots retreat in 2013. He interviewed me about the Journey Projects. He later contacted me about doing video documentation for the Journey Projects. I was impressed by Manoj’s gentle manner and his passion for documentation. When I […]