02: J. Morgan Puett

How do we find moments of solitude?


Solitude is such a personal topic. I hardly know how I could offer any notion of it, being a single mother, with a project in my home. In this small society (of both the human and non human) at Mildred’s Lane, certain times a year there are surges of activity that make it impossible to have any solitude. It can be overwhelming social engagement; even at sleep a mind is active in a wildish place. But other times a year, I am there with my son, sort of alone; but that does not mean I have any solitude. I see all the repairs that are needed, all the flaws of its becoming, and a never ending list of to do’s not only in the buildings, outbuildings and landscape; even in the town, in the studio where there are endless lists to accomplish.

Perhaps our most natural state of solitude is in a nomadic state; the flaneur, the wanderer, the traveler––where solitude and deep thought can exist in the interstitial spaces between engagements––twixt here and there, in motion. But, as artists, work is our life, therefore we must weave our life through it, creating events out of every action, every banal chore, and particularly thinking with creative domesticating at every turn; I call this workstyles. There may be solitude found in such spaces that a few Excerpts from the Glossary of the User’s Guide to Mildred’s Lane* might enlighten:

as you go
az yoō gō
1. to gather, glean and collect multiple things at once: We learn as we go. 2. doing several things at once along the course of any given time or task; Take the compost as you go to the garden to weed and plant. Do as you go, rest as you go.

1. the quality of being kind and generous : We are overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and colleagues. 2. the quality or fact of being plentiful or large : Fellows certainly cannot complain about the generosity of portions. Origin: late Middle English (denoting nobility of birth): from Latin generositas, from generosus ‘magnanimous’ (see generous). Current senses date from the 17th cent. 

hoosh 1
verb or noun (hooshing)
1. a practice of (conceptually charged) styling, cleaning. 2. the stylistic activation and conceptual engagement with one’s environment. 3. other origins: Early American slang use for anything that needs an aesthetic extension. Neologism of Mildred’s Lane, Pa. c. late 20c.  I had a hoosh of a night. Did you see how hooshed up she was? Hoosh up your room! Nice hoosh!

hoosh 2
1. trans. To force or turn or drive (an animal, etc.) off (or out, etc.) 2. also intr., to move (rapidly). Origin:(from the OED:)Cf. also quot. 1943.1908 Athenæum 11 Apr. 450/1, I hooshed them, hooshed them all into the shed. 1928 A. A. MILNE House at Pooh Cornervi. 100 ‘Well done, Pooh… That was a good idea of ours… Hooshing you to the bank like that.’ ‘Hooshing me?’ said Eeyore in surprise. ‘Hooshing me? You didn’t think I was hooshed, did you? I dived. Pooh dropped a large stone on me, and so as not to be struck heavily on the chest, I dived and swam to the bank.’ 1933 L. A. G. STRONG Sea Wall xvii. 283 We could hoosh the whole lot of them off of the line, and the train could go by. 1934 A. RUSSELL Tramp-Royal in Wild Australia iii. 27, I untied my camel, ‘hooshed’ it down and mounted it. 1936 A. THIRKELL August Folly ix. 283 Oh, she’s dressing, and Aunt Palmer hooshed me out. 1939 JOYCE Finnegans Wake 112 Trust her to propagate the species and hoosh her fluffballs safe through din and danger! 1943 HUNT & PRINGLE Service Slang 39 Hooshing, purely an R.A.F. word, which means landing at great speed. 1956 ‘A. BRIDGE’ Lighthearted Quest ii. 37 Why do you go hooshing off to find him in this completely wild-cat way?

1.travel or wander around from place to place. Origin: late 16th cent. from Latin peregrinat- ‘traveled abroad,’ from the verb peregrinari, from peregrinus ‘foreign, traveling.’

1. a condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended: I was on the verge of sleep | [ in sing. ] : a good night’s sleep.

• chiefly literary a state compared to or resembling sleep, such as death or complete silence or stillness: a photograph of the poet in his last sleep. Have a good sleep in a well-hooshed bed, swaddled with crisp cotton sheets and heavy layers of blankets.

2. a gummy or gritty secretion found in the corners of the eyes after sleep: she sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

all of the above
often attributive
1. The embodiment of any practitioners work-live-research environment as a developed and rigorous engagement with every aspect of life. 2. Interpersonal and intrapersonal everyday connections between researching, working, making, cooking and living centered on new modes of being in the world and are negotiated daily through the rethinking of one’s involvements with food, shopping, making, styling, gaming, sleeping, reading, thinking and doing. (see comportment)(see systems thinking)(see system aesthetics). Origin: neologism of Mildred’s Lane, Pa. c. late 20c.  a response to Bruce Mau’s redefining lifestyles. Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art– life.  (see The Discipline of DE, William Burroughs; Gus Van Sant 1982,)

* From The Comportment Manual: Excerpts from the Glossary of the User’s Guide to Mildred’s Lane is an ongoing aggregate work, gleaning and reassembling terms and references which include notes from; personal accounts, early American slang, the English Oxford Dictionary, environmental activism, Wikipedia, and theoretical citations from fables, film, philosophy, biology, art, architecture, fashion, sociology, economics, and much more.

About the contributor: J. Morgan Puett, Ambassador of Entanglement, Mildred’s Lane, was born in Hahira, Georgia in 1957. She received her MFA in sculpture and experimental filmmaking from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1985. Puett is a trans-disciplinary creative producer with accomplished work in the areas of installation art practices, clothing and furniture design, architecture, fine art, film, and more––rearranging these intersections by applying conceptual tools of research-based methods in history, biology, new economies, design, craft and collaboration. Morgan’s early work forged new territory by intervening into the fashion system with a series of storefront installations and clothing/dwelling projects in Manhattan in the eighties and nineties, then produced a long series of research installations on the histories of the needle trade systems in museums around the world. More recently tagged, her work has been innovative in the realm of ‘social engagement’ and the Mildred’s Lane Project continues to forge new ground, citing that being is profoundly a social and political practice. She is the recipient of The John and Marva Warnock award 2014,the United States Artists Simon Fellow Award 2011, the Smithsonian Institution Artist Research Fellowship 2009, the Anonymous Was A Woman Award 2005, the PEW Charitable Trust in Philadelphia 2005 amongst others and was one of the 2014 keynote speakers for Open Engagement at the Queens Museum.

Though her practice can be itinerant in nature, Puett currently is living, working, learning and teaching in Pennsylvania at Mildred’s Lane and The Mildred Complex(ity) that she founded and co-directs with Mark Dion. mildredslane.com