The Magic Cloak collaborative art project
Initiated in April 2020, The Magic Cloak is a collaborative project inspired by the mail art concept of an Add-and-Pass. An Add-and-Pass is a relative of the exquisite corpse from surrealist games, and mail art a non-commodity art form associated with Fluxus, noted for its playful experimentation with art.
What is an Add-and-Pass?
The Add-and-Pass begins with an individual who sends a piece of paper with a stamp, a doodle, collaged image, or other mark with empty space intended for other artists to fill. Sometimes there may be a framework or theme to act as a guide, or the recipient may ignore this completely. Generally, there are no guidelines. The first artist includes their name and address with an indication to have the filled Add-and-Pass returned to them by whoever deems it full, then sends it to a second artist. Each artist might include their address so that artists further down the line can add them to their contact list. The path of the Add-and-Pass meanders unscripted and may or may not eventually return through the mail.
Artists Add to the Magic Cloak
The aspects of the Add-and-Pass that are apparent in this project include primarily the physical passing of the piece from one artist to the next after each individual adds what they will. Typically the Add-and-Pass is on paper, or in booklet form, the additions made can be rubber stamps, drawings, collage, limited only by imagination. In The Magic Cloak, recipients expand this to fabric dye, paint, glitter glue, (and I’ll keep adding to this list as the project grows).
In addition to having surface changes added to by the magical beings creating the Cloak, I have asked everyone to document an act of magic, to magically activate the cloak. This is open to personal interpretation. At the end of the project, my hope is to be able to share this documentation along with the new physical cloak.
The artists participating in this project each add their own magic to the cloak as it travels among them. In this way, the magic cloak is a spell of directed, collaborative energies, and the result is transformation of this humble cloth which began life as a curtain and will assume its re-birthed form by the end of the chain of artists.
This project began as a creative challenge that would hopefully reinforce a sense of hope and connection between artists during a period of lock down due to COVID-19, but when the social revolution against racism and police violence emerged it became apparent that this project also speaks to the power of collaborative transformation. Hanging over us is also the calling of the Earth for healing, a call for transforming our society to have renewed reverence for our planet and all life here with us. I hope that The Magic Cloak inspires artists and other magical people to direct their energy to a similar co-crafting of our society in a way that honors both the individual and the collective.
The circle of artists involved, in order of how they will receive the cloak, include:
- Amy Bay
- Rachel Rosenkoetter
- Bre Gipson
- Cassandra Lucine
- Alanna Risse
- Derek Watson
- Kelly McGovern
- Katy Zimmerwoman
- Min Jung
- Jason Berlin
- Sean Barnes
- Dan Ma