If You Can Dig It Then You Can Write It

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This July’s First Friday was a major success-- if you weren’t able to attend, you missed out! But have no fear, you can still come and see all of the new exhibits through the end of the month.

However, there is one part of the event that’s no longer up: the DigIndy interactive writing response! In the Gallery Annex hundreds of blue sticky notes covered the corner, prompting viewers to engage with the “manhole covering” artwork and with each other.

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The project resulted in a range of language that represents the diversity of our community and the potential for creativity when writing tools are made accessible. Attendees were encouraged to break the Haiku Contest writing rules if they felt so inspired but most were up for the challenge. Some Haiku veterans cranked out five or six poems, and for some, the night marked the birth of their inner poet.

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When reading people’s creations, its critical to remember the context: these brave, creative souls were working with many constraints and limitations since they could only “write” with the words provided, and as the night went on that word bank grew increasingly bare (i.e., increasingly challenging).

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Some took a literal approach:

A man hole cover
A reflection of Indy
May blossom below

Connecting this art
To our city improves how

We create culture
–By Chloe Coy

You’re in big trouble
If the waste doesn’t flow freely

Urine, big trouble

Dignity flowing
Newly purely vital wet
Underneath Indy
–By Jay Neuharth

Indy blue city
One body drink together
Tunnel with our place
–By Matilda Green

City burning bright
To heal the environment
Support DigIndy

Let river and stream
Ebb and flow freely beneath
Our lovely city
–By Chloe Coy

Some pursued more abstract endeavors:

Grow hollow people
Over painted blue summer
My self low under
–By Eva Neuharth

Holding clean water
How human the feeling
So why is it gone

Women in their tub
Must descend into cloud hole
Wish for mermaid plant

If fish group should drink
Then circle place big friday
Share warm sun tunnel

Move home green herron
descend high together first
Streaming much love now
–By Linda Neuharth

Dream
Full hearts together
Should share their warm love with
City place our home
–By J. Abraham

Must our river rush
Below with every rain
Go fill us and live
–By Kipp Normand

Descend dream-like
Deeply under cloud and ground
Wish for a mermaid
–By Emily Neuharth

Splash we share a tub
Like children we’re connected
Through a basic need

Two people stood out among the brave submitters who posted their creations with #DigIndy… and they were Nicole Nimri and Enrico Banks! I had proudly surveyed the writing response corner throughout the event, and I didn’t see anyone put in as much time, effort, and thought as they did. They had a lot working against them too; co-writing is very difficult even when you don’t have limitations on what words you can use. This was their poem:

Each one can learn if
Flow can drive an earth when I
Mix body mind work

In addition to the structured Haiku Contest, there was also the middle-ground of free-response prompts and the freedom of a blank sticky-note. Questions about community connection were answered in a variety of ways that reflect the people of Indy:

“We are all under the same sun, and feel that shared heat”

“I connect with others through Porch Parties and First Fridays!”

“We share emotions and body language”

And some prompts reminded the attendees to stop and think about how the art makes them feel:

“Rich colors bring joy and peace”

“This makes me want to go home and paint”

“DigIndy makes me happy for our earth and environment”

I believe that part of this installation’s success is a testament to how well the arts and nature flow together. It made sense that people who are passionate about culture and beauty also care deeply about our world and each other.

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In the end, the most important result of the project was that people were given an opportunity to connect with one another, the art, and the DigIndy mission while also being exposed to the expressive and persuasive powers of writing.

(Many of the haikus we've shared are anonymous, so if you see yours above and want to claim it, then comment below!)

Emily NeuharthComment