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Last Of The Stat Dragons

June 2, 2010

[This is part of a collaborative series on mindful technology use.  Background and previous dragons here, here, and here.]

As you may have inferred from the above, Dana Heffern’s work as an artist is bad-ass and complex.  She’s another of my cohorts in the Goddard Interdisciplinary Arts MFA program — a true blessing to have as a peer.  One of those bold workers who gets to you at a head and gut level: often through something like a parody or twist that makes the familiar strange, thus helping us to confront our assumptions.

Among her latest visual art projects are unicorn paint-by-number pieces set amidst wartime backdrops.  At first glance you’re like, “Ok, a unicorn paint-by-number.”  At second glance you’re like, “…Oh.”  At which point she helps to flesh out your “Oh” by providing fascinating background info and explanation on the symbolic significance of unicorns.

Along similar lines of undermining the familiar in order to raise consciousness, Dana’s also working on a rad-sounding dinner party performance piece designed to educate folks about Type I Diabetes.  For some, it may be a rude awakening: non-diabetic attendees will be asked to inject themselves with ‘insulin’ (saline) and will need to overcome various obstacles in order to access their meal.  In large part the dinner party (housed/performed in a gallery) will be making transparent and real the uncomfortable processes that Type I Diabetics have to endure just in order to eat, or be around others eating.  Dana herself, as a diabetic, has battled to counteract the ignorance, condescension, isolation, and lack of compassion from friends and strangers alike (including nutritionists).  It’s inspiring to see her transforming those negative experiences into original work that is, in her words, “educational, disturbing, loving, thought-provoking, powerful, stunning, and artistic.”

One more reason I’m tickled to collaborate with Dana on Kloncke: formerly, she was among its biggest skeptics at Goddard.  Yes!  She very compassionately outed herself to me as such a few days into our residency.  Blogging? For an MFA? I wasn’t buying it, she said. In fact, it kind of made me mad. (I’m telling you: this woman shoots it from the hip.  And thank goodness.)

But, taking to heart the advice of the faculty members to investigate the areas that repulse us, she spent a couple days sifting through my archives.

It’s been a Mutual Admiration Society ever since.

Four months later, it’s an honor to share her piece, the last of the stat dragons.

Thanks, Dana!  Big hugs.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Roger Nehring permalink
    June 2, 2010 12:25 pm

    Great dragon-it is so tiny! Those are fingers it is perched upon, yes?

  2. June 2, 2010 12:34 pm

    Oh wow! I was reading them as pantyhosed knees, but now I can see them as fingertips, too! That is some enjoyable mental confusion right there — I like toggling back and forth between the two scales.

    ps: Happy to see you here, Roger! You are always so positive and encouraging — thank you for that. :)

  3. Dana Heffern permalink
    June 2, 2010 4:06 pm

    Thanks for the awesome write-up!!! …and those are fingers! Tiny Stat Dragon.

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