from Michael David himself, describing the March 2019 residency in Brooklyn:
Perhaps it's the time of year , the injury I suffered - and love and generosity I received from those close to me and those I barely know , but I find myself in a moment of hyper-sensitivity to what I believe is most profound and meaningful and this is what I wish to share as long as it lasts.
The residencies that were most successful - were based on conversations I had with each participant first , finding common threads , passing it through my own passion and then creating a loose architecture , structure and theme for each of you to interpret and to run with. I have shared your emails here because it is my hope that you will share your thoughts and progress with each other before the residency as well as during . One of the aspects of the magic of this process is the support and collaboration between the artists involved.
We come to project prepared for one thing and often times it can change in a moment from seeing out reflection in each other.
The themes for the last two residencies were the Exquiste Corps and and Folded....this one is called Hurt.
One of the great benefits of my injury was spending three weeks and having the blessing of having my son to care for me and live with me.. We talked in ways we never had before and I got to see what a beautiful man he had grown into. I listened to his music , talked about life , his and mine. He would play Cardi B, among many other artists I was not familiar with ( which I came to really enjoy)for me and I would play Bowie for him and along the way I played the live version of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails and Bowie. He asked me if I knew the Johny Cash version , I said I did but never really paid attention to it. Then I watched the video of it and my mind was blown and my heart made full.
It's a perfect interpretation of the Trent Reznor song by Johnny Cash and perhaps the most beautiful music video ever made.
Cash was soon to die and Rick Rubin took him into the studio to record this song - about redemption - regret and some attempt at absolution.
I often talk about the importance of subject and object- how the narrative you are telling is made stronger if the process - the materiality of how you tell that narrative make is actualized through that process and are one and the same.
This crucial relationship is evidence of the artists deeply spiritual commitment ,struggle and practice over there lives to speak their truth and is my firm belief it is the basis of all great work- evidence , of the passion , the conviction , the bravery and the un compromised struggle to share who we are with each other.
So in this case we have Cash dying , singing a song that could have been written by him or for him ( it is better that he didn't write it or it wasn't written for him, because the deepest truths are universal) the subject and the object are so painfully and beautifully aligned - decades of life of remorse , regret ( underlying struggle with faith and Christianity , heroine , abuse ) and a desire for redemption all made perfect in the closing shot - of his hands closing the piano lid- perfection high art.
The fragility in Cash's voice, his age, his health , his life lived are the perfect union of subject and object - if truth is beauty and beauty is truth - this is beauty of the highest level and why I preach the importance of your own relationship to your "material " - the power of subject and object.
So the theme for the next Residency is pick a work of another as Rubin picked Reznor's song for Cash- it could be painting , sculpture , literature , film , music , that already relates deeply to the essence of who you are , and create of work in your own voice based on that.
I challenge you to dig deep, take risks, dare to be great , dare to be profound to be your most honest and profound self.
Simple as that - complex as that
Inspired by Johnny Cash “Hurt”