the Collective Nora

12 lovely humans went backpacking last weekend.  it was magic and so many things.  encouraged by an identity that emerged and necessitated by an assignment from maestro Guillermo Gomez-Pena to write as a persona, this writing piece happened.  10 humans responded to various prompts and then i wove them together, stitching with some narrative parts.

i think this piece fits in micro-quest and macro-quest.  the weekend was fulfilling and also an inspiring reboot for the macro-quest that is shared life.

Collective Nora narrative

(ppl who received this over email, this is a revisited version.)

– Jess Heaney

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Laying Bare the Questions

The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.–James Baldwin

Looking at the questions beneath cultural representations of aging. Putting these up somewhere on the streets of Mumbai.

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Here is a new comic about questing called Gaining Weight.


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As a new year starts I’ve been practicing my new year’s resolution of being mindful and hopping out of the worry loop that can suck me endlessly into anxious voids. So far, I’m finding that meditation and knitting are solid tools in this process, and that it in order to do the social work I want to do I need to find that inner grounded center regularly. So here is my hat project, knitting my way to the present moment.

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What my liberation looks like

So I drew this in December 2010, one month in to being in Laos, for what my liberation looks like:

When I look back and think about this drawing and what I think my/our liberation looks like now, I think I’ve been feeling less specific about it, which feels good.  I guess I’ve struggled with being a human/politicized and finding myself in a group that seemed to have a specific vision/way of thinking/talking about liberation that I agreed with, but also that I felt was narrow (and not abundant/loving).  The incredible complexity and emptiness/everything of power relations, of the natural world, of our brains is easy for me to get lost in and ambivalent.  But I do think that threads of that have to carry over into what I think my liberation looks like.  So for now, I don’t feel specific about it, but I feel like it might have something to do with the idea of endless transformation – and the space for it (like the spaces art sometimes can make).

Here’s something that felt really good!!!!

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Visualize Liberation

I’ve been wanting to participate physically in the Occupy movement, and as I’m back to the states for a few weeks I made these posters depicting a few of the repeated concrete statements of the various humans associated with the meaning.

I’ll be posting them in Seattle tonight, in their little plastic sleeves to keep them cozy in this gray winter rain.

It feels good to draw other people’s words and I think that’s what my liberation looks like. Bringing my passion joy skill to the work of love and justice in a giant creative community collaboration.

Expression makes me feel so alive.

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One example of what our liberation looks like

I see here:

Building in Santa Cruz, reclaimed by the people from Wells Fargo be a community center.

At building

Read more about the Santa Cruz Social Center here.

My friend emailed me this and said it made her tear ducts begin to well up at the thought that even if she lost her job, she wouldnt have to lose her house to the bank if we could defend it like this!  Let’s be free of fear that the capitalists will throw us to the curb and we won’t be able to perform our necessary labor to survive.

I’m not all hippy-dippy-happy-go-lucky tho.  Shit is real at Mills and seven people were laid off yesterday; fifteen positions elimated.  People fired at 9am and told they had to leave campus immediately, to come back on Saturday or after-hours and only with a security escort to collect their belongings.  It’s fucked up.  Students are organizing in protest.  I think our liberation needs to have TRANSPARENCY, because no institution can function on and exercise inequality when the people know what is happening.  Art project forthcoming about this.

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