Michele Brody | Reflections in Tea
Presented by Julio Valdez Project Space
Location: Main Floor
Thursday, March 8, 8:30pm - 10:00pm
Friday, March 9, 3:00pm - 5:00pm & 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Saturday, March 10, 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Sunday, March 11, 1:00pm - 3:00pm & 5:00pm - 6:00pm
"Reflections in Tea" is a long-term interactive community-based project inspired by the worldwide tradition of drinking and sharing tea. The ritual preparation of loose-leaf tea within special paper ﬁlters is shared with individuals while sitting in a copper pipe structure modeled after a traditional Japanese tea room. Initially envisioned as a mobile tea house, the main component of "Reflections in Tea" emphasizes the invitation of the public to enter and sit within a semi-private space to share a cup of tea. Each ceremony focuses on the sharing of stories and reminiscences about tea within the context and history of one’s community. By taking time to cross over the threshold of the teahouse, each participant is introduced to how the drinking of tea is practiced throughout the world as a transformative custom between our public and private lives, and the meditative welcome of a stranger into one’s home. After which, participants are asked to preserve their impressions by inscribing their experience onto the stained paper filters used to brew the tea after being dried out and ironed flat. These tea notes are then hung together with past tea stories culminating in the creation of an ever-growing installation of fluttering paper quilts.
Michele Brody has shared tea with hundreds of people throughout New York City, the US and abroad over the past 10 years. She collects and collates their impressions on stained tea notes into paper quilts that from afar form a craggy mountain range reminiscent of the steep ridges where tea grows, while when read up close reveal an array of hand written stories, poetry and drawings. Through the experience of reading past participants’ contributions, "Reflections in Tea" reflects back to the public both a visual and visceral experience of their collective memories and experiences. Where their variety of voices, handwritings, drawings and colors of tea come together to create a unifying expression of the diversity that holds communities together.