How I met Heather Gold
I was lucky enough to meet Heather Gold, it was like meeting a kindred spirit. @Heathr found me on twitter and suggested we meet up. It took a few SMS, tweets and phone calls to connect but we got there. Thanks to her I got to see Paddington. The sun was out, there were cute little terrance houses, the streets were littered with trees and families. A lovely Sydney town.
The Paddington Reservoir is an interesting place and it has been transformed into a public space. There were remnants of art features from Art and About festival, like the slightly toppled metal soccer tables and the beach chairs you open and sit on. Even on the busy street of Oxford, you can find peace inside the reservoir.
We also visited a gloried butcher shop called Victor Churchill. I saw it as a meat installation art shop. The staff were all part of the installation. It’s one of the places I would recommend seeing. It was a sight to see, a wall of camera focusing on one object almost like a clichéd big brother. There were fridges filled with meat and all sorts of pâté. A feature wall of opaqued pink African sea salt with a hanging conveyor belt of oversized meat. It was definitely a place you have to experience yourself.
I have moments in life where I feel like I was meant to meet certain people who can help answer questions I have. Not only did she gave me an answer, she gave me more questions to think about. As an artist and story collector I have a way of creating an intimate space where people are open up and share their stories. Heather is a performer and artist, she’s able to do what I can do in a grand scale or large audience. I like to learn the same skill. We spend a few hours comparing life stories and notes about a creative practice and in the end she invited me to see her show.
Heather’s show: Everything is subject to change
Her show was intense. Her show was raw. Her show was emotionally personal reflection about her life. She talked about pain, loss, grief and feelings of being abandon. Sometimes it was tough to watch but riveting at the same time.
Heather’s life changed from the point when she miscarriages. She even live tweeted the experience,
“You know what’s worse, being alone when it happens.”
Three weeks later her marriage breaks down and for the next two years she traveled around America and Canada. During her vagabond travels, she went and stood up to Congress to save the internet, threw her wedding rings at the festival, Burning man. Gone to a lesbian bath house and ended up meeting her present partner. Used airBnB and met various hosts. One stood out for being passive aggressive and cheater (his partner was away and he was having sex with another woman.) What was a constant stream to her story was her sense of loss and pain. There were times when she felt forced to find alternative ways to release her suffering. How did the story end and what happens next, it was left open. Her story continues. At the end of her performance it felt like we saw a glimpse to her depth of soul and how she is slowly coming to terms with it. She taught me one valuable lesson: The first step is to acknowledge that your pain exist. No matter how far you run, it’s a constant companion, silently waiting for you to acknowledge it’s existence.
Heather was engaging, she was able to throw an intimate blanket over the audience. She pulled them into her personal story and made them part of the experience. The audience actively asked her questions and she weaved her response into the performance. From an artistic perspective, I saw how she did it, she connected people and allowed them to come to grips with reality. She made it feel like its their story too. What else did we learn from her story? Empathy and basic human connection is what we all crave for. In a world we live in, especially in a fast moving and globalised world, a sense of disconnection deepens. Who knows, we might not even know it but maybe just maybe we are holding our breath too.
Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe.
See more by visiting Heather’s site: http://www.heathergold.com/eistc/