18th Street Arts Center is an artists' residency program that provokes public dialogue through contemporary art-making.
Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest is a multi-faceted project by Los Angeles-based artist Alexandra Grant encompassing a series of public drawing sessions, reading groups, artist collaborations and an installation at 18th Street Arts Center.
We meet each other in a forest. We are activated in time together, collectively exploring, and manifesting a space of imagination, reflection and contemplation. We are transforming from participants into oneironauts, or travelers within a lucid dream space. We read together, we draw together, and we visualize together, exploring the peripheries of the collective unconscious as we encounter the anima, the animus, the Self and the Other.
We are in the "Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest," a participatory project by artist Alexandra Grant at 18th Street Arts Center. Grant has been referred to as a "radical collaborator," expanding her text-based, language-driven studio practice from painting, drawing and sculpture into reciprocal and joint projects with hypertext pioneer Michael Joyce, actor Keanu Reeves, and artist Channing Hansen. With "Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest," Grant invites us all to become conspiratorial dreamers, unlocking the layers of Deconstruction semiotic analysis through the work of iconic French author, poet, playwright and philosopher Hélène Cixous, with whom the artist has enjoyed an on-going exchange for many years.
Grant focuses on Cixous' book "Philippines" as a source for imagery, centering on the repeating thematic of the forest as a profound shared space. Drifting between a real and an imagined place, the forest becomes a site for communion with what Cixous terms "the perfect Other." In "Philippines," Cixous explores the philosophical and sociological constructs of the "Other," linking texts from Sigmund Freud on the shared dream, Jacques Derrida on telepathy, and the story of "Peter Ibbetson," a novel by George du Maurier, where two childhood friends separated by class and country are reunited as adults in their joined dream-life.
Within "Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest," Grant examines the "twinned" ideas of "Philippines," such as dreaming and reality, telepathy and empathy, and relationships between man and woman, adult and child, and colony and colonizer, through illustration of the text, an installation of the forest as image and stage-set, and through collaborations with other artists and the public.