May 10th, 2018 - June 21st, 2018 // Ayatana Residency

You know that thing that all creatives (hope to) get when they become so inspired that they become overwhelmed and shut down for a bit while they process? That's been me for the last couple days. (+ now I have a gnarly cold!) 

I just got home after attending the Ayatana Nocturne Research Residency with a notebook of ideas and big plans. Ayatana specializes in combining science with the arts, there are many different themed programs to choose from, all taking place in Ontario, Canada. 

I decided to attend the theme that seemed the most unfamiliar to me, which was about Nocturnal wildlife, in an effort to thoroughly push myself out of my comfort zone. (Which I was.)

I couldn't possibly write something here that would even begin to cover my time there, and to be honest, and I wouldn't want to because I'd much rather encourage you to attend yourself. So instead, here's a list of things I learned at Ayatana that may show up in my future work: 

1. Our atmosphere acts as a prism; when you look at planets low in the horizon line, the light reflecting back to you becomes shimmery and wavey because of the distortion. I'm obsessed with it. 

2. Trees relax at night. Yes. That big living thing without a central nervous system takes time to rest. And you can visibly measure it. (!!!) 

3. Just, everything fungi. I have never been so excited to explore a new to me medium. Did you know there is a mushroom that smells like watermelon? 

4. Basically, if you yell "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?" into a forest, you could end up talking to an owl. 

5. Darkness is vital to our ecosystems and, I personally was interested to hear how lack of darkness affects mental health - turns out we need the absence of light as much as we need light. 

There is much, MUCH, more; I suspect I'll be unpacking nuggets of inspiration for many moons. 

However, by far the most inspiring part of my time there was the conversations with the people around me. I'm going to link them below because they are all wonderful creatives and I highly recommend checking them and their work out. I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to share space with them. 

Agnes Marton  

Shin Young Park

Deborah Santoro

Blawnin Clancy

And I would be remiss if I did not include a link to the Ayatana director, Alexis Williams.

I can't wait to see how our time at Ayatana will manifest in our work. 

-MJ 

Some of my favorite textures from the week. 

 Cave selfie! 

Cave selfie!