Living Melody Collective in Tampa, Florida
I answered a bunch of questions for an article and have decided to repurpose those answers here on the blog.
So to start, we go by Living Melody Collective. The collective consists on 5 members, Angela Davis Johnson, Jessica Caldas, Danielle Deadwyler, Haylee Anne and myself Angela Bortone.
-I would like to hear about all that's going on in Tampa
We are taking this month long residency and each member is carving out available time to travel down to Tampa. So Jessica and ADJ went down for the first week, I'll be going for a stretch of ten days, then Haylee Anne and ADJ will be going down after me and everyone will be there for installation at the end of the month. This residency is our first as a collective. We've also spent digital time in video conversation over zoom for this first week, conversations that will be transcribed and later redacted. We are sharing our own personal history, experiences and feelings as well as bonding, building out the conceptual framework of our residency through these conversations. We float though mediums like there are no differences, so expect to see a diverse show. We hope to show the work here in Atlanta after the Tampa show is over.
In a nutshell, beyond the idea in our press release ("What does it mean to truly support women? What can be excavated from learned conditioning, as well as conflict, and joy?”) this show is about us at best (represented as goddesses) and us as our worst (the human representative) and thinking through our lineage / inheritance / descendant of a series of human/goddesses to determine where want to go and want to live.
-Could you guys tell me a little about yourselves as a collective and what your goals are?
Its important for us to note that Living Melody Collective is a group of four artist mothers and one artist cat-mom. The reason why this is central to our identity is that we often bring our children to work or don't bring them as a result of the privilege of family childcare. We approach our collective with intersectionality being a central piece of vocabulary and the goal is to support each other emotionally, spiritually, economically.
We each have our own studio practice, but the collective is a place for social justice and community oriented work, often at a much larger scale than we can achieve alone. The Live the Legacy II mural was 8 feet high and 32 feet long. The bus was 36 feet long and the first vehicle we had ever painted, as well as the first time any of us had used a HVLP spray gun.
-I would like to hear about projects that you've done in the past.
Projects officially as Living Melody Collective:
Live the Legacy II mural originally exhibited at the Center of Civil and Human Rights
Hope for Georgia bus (for Liliana Bhaktiari and Kristina Brown).
We have a history of collaboration that stretches back to 2015. To name a few, this is not an exhaustive list,
-Haylee Anne and Jessica Caldas did a two person show called Goldsmack at Eyedrum in 2017
-Everyone was a part of Jessica Caldas's show Love/d & Sex/ed
-Everyone has been a part of Jessica's 3everyday project in 2015, 2016, 2017
-Haylee Anne & I curated a show called "Ladies First: The Variety Show" in 2015 at the Downtown Players Club
How did you guys come up with the name Living Melody Collective?
Haylee gets credit for the actual phrase Living Melody, which was a slight variation of a phrase that I had proposed to be our name. That phrase came from a screenshot of a page of a book that Jessica had posted in our group chat. I wish I could track down that book / page. We came up with the name so that we could apply to the Live the Legacy contest at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. We were not expecting to be one of the three winners of that contest but I'm so glad we were.
How did you all meet and end up getting together as a group?
We all met a various different encounters during 2014-2015: Jessica and Danielle met at MINT during an exhibition, Angela Davis Johnson and Jessica met during Alternate roots, Haylee and I connected over twitter. We were all a part of Jessica's first year of 3everyday along with a number of other artists, I think there was around 50 total artist who helped make those performances. Three women performed daily for the month of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness month to bring light to the issue that three women die everyday from DV. There's more information on that project on her website, http://jessicacaldas.com/collaborative-and-public-art-projects#/3everyday/
This is a video of Jessica explaining in a little more detail about the first year of 3everyday and our points of connection up to our formation. This is from our interview with the AJC.
Just to clarify: Do you guys come home to Atlanta in March sometime or are you in Tampa for the whole month of March?
We'll be back in Atlanta after the opening of the show.