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The Smaller the Theater, the Faster the Music

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Composer Philip Glass talks time with painter Fredericka Foster.

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Philip Glass and Fredericka Foster

How is composing music of a given meter similar to painting flowing water? In this conversation between the composer and musician Philip Glass and the painter Fredericka Foster, two artists set out to tackle this question, before flowing into questions of memory, physics, and death.

Glass and Foster met in the late 1990s through their mutual interest in Buddhism. They shared a teacher, Gelek Rimpoche, and attended yearly meditation retreats together in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When I invited them to have a conversation about time, they both responded with great interest and curiosity. How better to reflect, they said, on a decades-long relationship that had been sparked by Buddhist teachings and strengthened by a mutual artistic admiration?

Getting them together was less easy. Glass was traveling in Europe, while Foster was in Seattle. So we recorded a telephone conversation, transcribed it, then recorded a second conversation to fill in the gaps. In a way, the resulting dialogue between the two artists—their first formal collaboration—is informed by its own distortions of time and space.

After Glass returned to New York, I got a chance to see him perform a piece at Carnegie Hall that was introduced more than 30 years ago. It was recognizable as a Glass signature, but at the same time it was something different, even better than the original. As I was listening to the piece, I was reminded of what my collaborator, Lee Smolin, wrote in his introduction to our project on time:

“In the new view of time, time is essential, and irreversible because it generates genuine novelty.”

Time had given a genuine novelty to Glass’ performance of an old piece. I expect it will do the same years from now, when two old friends reread their conversation on an ageless topic.

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Water Journeys Workshop Conference – April 2019

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Fredericka Foster & Giana González, Independent Artists

Water is both a global and personal issue, since every living thing depends upon water.  We may misperceive water as a subject of importance primarily to organizations focused upon the issue, but since all living beings are made mostly of water, and what we eat and drink affects this key substance, how we treat water determines our lives. Art offers a method to emphasize human agency for clarifying our relationship with water, making us aware of its part in our personal story and identity, and helping us shape and guide our intentions and relationship with it.

We will facilitate this process with a series of questions.   We will share basic design principles. We will provide materials for collage, using sample images from Fredericka’s and Giana’s artwork and sourced images from the internet and magazines.  Participants will craft and illustrate their own water journeys with words and images, learning how an artistic practice aids self-reflection and communication. They will share their personal journey with water, how it relates to their identity, value, ethics and future actions. They will develop an experimental framework using creativity and art to express values, educate on a specific issue, and ignite action.

Learn More about the FATE Conference Workshops

Artists Celebrate the Salish Sea: A Collaboration

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by Fredericka Foster, Alan Honick, Deborah Baker, Erin Goodwin-Guerrero, Sara Karl, Marcus Patrick Lelle, Becky MacPherson, Sharon Mason, Mahala Mrozek

Drawings, paintings and prints by several artists help share our sense of intimacy with the Salish Sea and all its inhabitants. We explore the dynamics that embody our intense sense of place. From body painting with crab molt to a painting of J-35 pushing her dead calf, to abstracted prints of water, this book gives one a sense of what it means to be a Pacific Northwesterner. Also included are actions you can take to make a difference, either in your home or yard, or as a citizen and political being, regardless of political party. This book is dedicated to J-35, a Southern Resident Killer Whale also known as Tahlequah, and to all who strive to conserve our beautiful world for future generations.

View the Artists Celebrate the Salish Sea Book.

Interview for Praxis Interview Magazine on WYBCX Yale University Radio, with Brainard Carey

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Fredericka Foster works in oil painting and photography. She was born in Seattle and has spent most of her life on, or near, water. This proximity gave rise to a deep, personal connection with water, amplified by her Buddhist studies and practice. This lifelong connection to water has deeply informed her paintings.

After receiving her B.A. in Art at the University of Washington, she studied and taught at The Factory of Visual Arts in Seattle, and eventually moved to New York. She currently lives in New York City and Seattle.

Read the full interview at http://museumofnonvisibleart.com