1000 Moons #891

1000 Moons, installations -  artwork by Emily Miller
 1000 Moons, installations -  artwork by Emily Miller
 1000 Moons, installations -  artwork by Emily Miller
 1000 Moons, installations -  artwork by Emily Miller
 1000 Moons, installations -  artwork by Emily Miller

Deer Isle, Maine installation

Papermaking process

What does it look like to imagine a life time?

1000 Moons is an art installation and grief process of 1000+ hand-formed paper moons, representing every full moon cycle witnessed by my grandmother from her birth to her death. 1000 Moons envisions a lifetime as a tangible space where viewers can locate themselves within the full span of another life.

About 1000 Moons

I began this project after both my grandparents died of Covid, as I struggled to stay grounded in my own life, and my understanding of time became distorted and unreal. In response, I am hand-forming 40 oversize sheets of paper with kelp, sheet music, and other materials linked to their history, and cutting them apart into 1,175 circles to represent each full moon in my grandmother's 94 years of life. Stringing each circle together to form a hanging corridor, 1000 Moons creates a physical pathway through time and memory.

In the absence of any time-based American tradition of mourning and grief, during a moment in history when existing grief rituals have been scattered, this work has become a new tradition for me to understand, honor, and process the length of a life.

I imagine my own life time overlapping with hers in the physical space occupied by the 1000 Moons: how many of these moons we saw together, how many she shared with my grandfather, my father, my aunts. Which moons were darkest, and which shone bright? How do I measure the time passed since?

Community Connection

Sharing this work is a way of inviting community into grief, in direct response to the isolation I felt after their deaths. Sharing my ongoing process centers the work of grieving as an ongoing process, and affirms that this process requires sustained space in our lives, our communities, and our culture. This sustained space is a vital part of our ability to heal and connect as a community.

Contribute & Participate (2021-22)

You can support the project through financial and/or written contributions.

Your donations will fund hundreds of hours of my time creating the artwork and managing the community events, materials costs, and accessible photo / video documentation of each installation. Your written contributions will be included in future exhibitions for community connection and growth.

The 1000 Moons GoFundMe page shares healing paths and traditions contributed by the community, using the platform's Updates and Comments.

Schedule of Events

In October 2021, I began sharing my ongoing process of creating the moons, in a series of virtual conversations, immersive video walk-throughs, and physical displays in public space. During each event, I invite all who have experienced loss and grief, especially during this current crisis, to share their new traditions for finding and following a healing path. I invite all participants to visualize their own life times, and those of their loved ones, within this space of 1000 Moons.

All presentations will be recorded, subtitled, and posted online. Physical installations will be documented with immersive video walk-throughs and posted online.

Past Events

October 12, 2021
Launch Event & Community Conversation 1

Hosted online by Portland Textile Month (free, registration required)
In this first public event for 1000 Moons, I introduce the project and discuss the lack of space for grief and death in American culture; and launch a GoFundMe to support my continued work on the project. I share process video of making the moons, and a first-concept installation video.

Oct. 10-29, 2021
Exhibit: 5 Years / 60 Moons at Gallery GoGo

Physical mini-installation at Gallery GoGo

Oct. 18, 2021 - Jan. 5, 2022
Exhibit: 22 Years / 270 Moons at Crema Art Annex

Physical installation at Crema Art Annex

February 17, 2022
Community Conversation 2

Hosted online by Walters Cultural Arts Center (free, registration required)
In this second open conversation about 1000 Moons, I talk about my grandparents' one-year death anniversaries and how this milestone is addressed in different cultures; and how their deaths specifically from Covid has affected my grief process. I share newly released footage of my papermaking process using objects from their lives, and installation videos from three different sites.

June 19, 2022
Podcast interview with Omni Open Studios

In conversation with Omni Open Studios podcast host Gwyneth Manley, we discuss our personal experiences of grief and loss in the context of my current projects, 1000 Moons and Ghost Net Landscape.

June 6-7, 2022
Exhibit: 18 Years / 222 Moons on Deer Isle

Forest and ocean installation in Deer Isle, Maine

June 22 - Aug. 13, 2022
Exhibit: 50 Years / 629 Moons at Patricia Reser Center for the Arts

Physical installation at Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Beaverton, Oregon
  • Opening Reception June 24, 6-8pm
  • Artist Talk + Grief Gathering July 20, 6:30pm (hybrid in-person / Zoom)
    Event recording & text transcript
    In this fourth open conversation about 1000 Moons, I talk about specific meanings within the installation at the Reser Center, including my identity as a mixed-race Chinese American whose grandparents died of Covid. I share newly released footage of the 1000 Moons project installed in the forest and ocean from a recent artist residency in Deer Isle, Maine, three miles from my grandparents' home place.
  • Artist at Work: July 23 + August 13, 2022, 5-10pm
    Two meditative evenings at the Reser Center cutting and stringing moons, and sharing stories, during the Beaverton Night Market. First time sharing this process in-person with the public.

Feb. 17 - May 19, 2023
Exhibit: 40 Years / 500 Moons at ARTspace Gallery

1000 Moons walking corridor included in process(ing), a 2-artist exhibit on healing, time, and memory at Arts Council of Lake Oswego, OR
  • Artist Receptions March 3 and May 5, 5:30-7pm

May 2 - June 23, 2023
Exhibit: Monuments at Hillsboro Civic Center

Solo exhibition at Hillsboro Civic Center, Oregon, including 1000 Moons and other work in my grief process
  • 12 Years / 153 Moons
  • Film screening and artist demos at Walters Cultural Arts Center, May 2 and June 6

Regional Arts & Culture Council
1000 Moons is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Oregon Arts Commission, and Ford Family Foundation.

Ongoing support is provided by individual contributions to the 1000 Moons GoFundMe campaign. Thank you.

Handmade paper, natural and found materials, cotton thread, 2021

3" diameter, each moon. 7ft high, each strand. Installation size variable.

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