Image: Astrid Kaemmerling surrounded by two mixed-media work samples.
Astrid Kaemmerling talked about her current collaborative project at the “Open Space” of the Emerging Arts Professionals in Oakland, CA, this August. The project incorporates lyric poetry written in dialogue with visual art, and visual art created in conversation with lyric poetry. Lyric poetry is often described as a “longing”–a kind of call and answer to a beloved not always present. It could also be described as incomplete or full of tension because it often leaves as much out or to the imagination as it offers the reader. The spaces, the quiet, the unsaid, the questions not answered are as much a part of the poetry as the words or line-breaks.
Interdisciplinary artist-scholar Astrid Kaemmerling and Becca J.R. Lachman have collaborated on a chapbook-length project for the past 2 1/2 years by mailing stanzas and mixed-media collages between SE Ohio and the Bay Area. Through this creative cross-pollination and long-distance friendship, they more fully enter themes of (female) distance, body as home, and space as story, even when that home is unsafe, unfinished, or carries weighty mysteries, such as unexplained infertility or personal trauma carried into our evolving adult lives and sense of selves. Likewise, this project seeks to better articulate and share our current stories as growing feminists, artists fulfilling various roles.