July 31, 2016 Repository 194: 50 Days 50 Choices | The Art of Repetition Posted In: art practice, community, contemporary art, kindness, perspective, social critique


Art must help to show the world as changeable and help to change it. – Ernst Fischer

Today I completed a self imposed exercise to make 50 choices for 50 days in reverence to those that died in Orlando, Florida nightclub killing on June 12. I Made 50 choices on their behalf, every day after the event because 49 of them did not have a choice that day. I included the assailant because we are all born with angry star dust, we just make better choices.

The day it happened, I set out 50 rocks. Much like the cairns in the fields of Scotland, I placed them in memory. I found the repetition of this everyday to be soothing. Repetition is not mindless, it becomes mindful. None of the objects or arrangements were planned, I simply used what I could find on that day. I tried to keep them in a square or grid, and the way they fell together was random. The only day that was not random was this last day. I chose to use eggs, as there is hope and fertility in the egg: it’s a beginning, not an end.

Several months ago I attended a lecture by Thomas Friedman. His lecture was to be on the politics of the Middle East, though he chose instead to promote his book in progress on slowness (very excited about this by the way). He did give a brief summary to assuage a frustrated audience about the politics and general climate now. He said that it is the very best time to be a maker – everything is at our disposal (material and otherwise) – and that it is equally a very best time to be a breaker (like the shooters of late, and general derailing of systems and beliefs). And while it is great to make, and to break, it’s nearly impossible to be a leader. I believe this is true in politics, in art, and in society generally. And he concluded that because of these factors it is like a hurricane in a trailer park in the Middle East.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my responsibilities as a maker, and what happens when we live in an ungrounded time with lots of breakers and no leaders. I fall back on individual choices, and hope that my choices are pointing me towards new and higher perspectives. We choose therefore we are, and how we choose makes all the difference in the world. And yes, there are some systems that need breaking, especially the art system – please join me on this one!

These events will be repeated, though they will never be repeated in the exact same way. I’m wishing for grace and safe distance from these violent events erupting which we can not control.

Peace & Love – CHE

PS. To see all 50 images you may visit instagram and search for the hashtag #50days50choices

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  1. Linda Fairchild • August 5, 2016

    Extraordinary post and inspiring me today. Have been slowing down and refocusing this week. Returning to art sales and passionate leadership to nurture young women. Thank you, dear Catherine. Reply

    • Catherine Haley Epstein • August 10, 2016

      Linda!! So great to hear from you, and so very happy to hear you were inspired. I miss you, and am so very happy to hear you are in the swing of nurturing young women in the arts. You have been such a loving support for me in some very interesting times - your leadership is much needed:) xoxox PS. Do I count as "young" still? ha!! Reply

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