Literary Nonfiction. Art. Film. Winner of the 2020 Nautilus Award’s Gold Medal for Creativity & Innovation. In this fragmentary and fluent little gem—full of light and stunning, full-color images—writer and time-based artist Marilyn Freeman offers up her own contemplative practice of dowsing for and creating "opportune moments" of insight and healing. With humor and humility, Freeman reveals her innovative approach to making video essays, a process developed over years of art-making, study and personal searching—a process of waking up again and again to the extraordinary possibilities hidden in everyday existence. Freeman introduces a theory of "evocative" practice as an alternative to the conventions of narrative and non-fiction filmmaking—a risky and rigorous engagement with form that invites the audience to participate in the creation of meaning. Her examination of the dialectical relationship of sound and image takes us far deeper than just a critical study of audio/visual media—deep into the human heart with its dark traumas and its shimmering capacity for honest and compassionate reckoning. Transgressing disciplinary boundaries and trading authority for authentic inquiry, Freeman takes us with her on a foray into time-based art that leaps and wanders from movie theaters to museums to Instagram in search of the "illuminated spaces" where we encounter ourselves and each other. This book is an essential resource for artists who question the importance of their work in these dark times, and for anyone seeking wisdom and wonder in our ordinary world.
"Art gives form to what we have experienced but have not found a way to express, and Freeman gives expression to what makes this act so vital. Stop, look, listen. Reflect. See how our past shapes our present and our present reshapes our past. Illuminate a dialectic. In a lyrical, devoutly modest and vibrantly alive voice, Freeman awakens us to numinous possibilities that await both in art and in the whole wide world around us. It is a book of uncommon grace."—Bill Nichols
"Marilyn Freeman unfolds for us her contemplative and creative living practice of time-based media with affecting solicitude, disclosure, and exactness. By staging propitious encounters with the past and the present, the living world and inspiring films, she discloses the infinite potential of a dialectical method that seeks its own illuminated space in between sounds and images, trauma and intimacy, lyricism and playfulness, time and consciousness. Her timely book will speak to practitioners and critics alike."—Laura Rascaroli
"In THE ILLUMINATED SPACE, Marilyn Freeman draws from many different disciplines and forms, weaving these in with her own experience for the purpose of cultivating a consciousness fully awake. 'Why wake up?' Freeman asks: 'Because the world is beautiful. Because the world is terrible. Because we live in urgent times with no time to spare.' This pursuit of what she has coined 'the illuminated space' is so beautifully serious and authentic it almost takes my breath away. Authoritative and yet vulnerable and evocative, this book is more than just art theory, philosophy, or a gentle guide towards holistic healing. It is a lifetime companion that invites continued participation, giving the reader a sense of agency and evoking new layers of meaning with each subsequent reading."—Gabriel Molinaro
"THE ILLUMINATED SPACE is lyrical poetic tribute to queer independent and experimental film. It is such a joy. It demonstrates a life long healing practice that is deeply personal and deeply cinematic."—Gwendolyn Audrey Foster
"Freeman's ILLUMINATED SPACE is an entry point into awareness and imaginative capability. The space-time of her vertical depth is a realm of change and becoming, of dissolution and creation—a space in which one can begin to see, feel, and think freshly and freely."—Marlie McGovern
Marilyn Freeman is a writer and media artist. Her text and media arts essays can be found at TriQuarterly, Blackbird, NinthLetter, The Fourth Genre and Abbey of the Arts. Freeman's films have been or are being exhibited on PBS and in movie theaters, spirituality centers, galleries and at film festivals worldwide.
Author City: OLYMPIA, WA USA