Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EDT April 29th 2020

Thank you to everyone who attended our session. We were fortunate to have participants from all across the globe — Germany, Italy, Portugal, UK, India, USA, and Bahrain!

This week, we discussed Marc Chagall’s painting “Paris through the window” (1913) (posted below). Our discussion was dynamic and multi-faceted, with a wonderful amalgamation of  perspectives. Participants spoke of the binaries present in the painting — between reality and fantasy, the waking state and the dream-like, the world outside and inside, the past and future, the dark and light. Others called attention to the vibrant colors, the caricature of the human-faced cat, the upside-down train, the flowers growing forth from the chair, and the two-faced “Janus” figure. We noticed how that figure and the cat were together yet looking elsewhere, and we wondered what the Janus figure was seeing, crowded down in the corner. We also considered the meaning of the horizontal figures. People connected the chaotic, otherworldly nature of the image to our current situation, and we considered the artist’s flight from Russia, as well.

Our prompt was: Write about looking through a window. In response to our prompt, participants spoke about seeing the future through the window as well as gleaning reminders of the past. Participants spoke of imagining people congregating again in groups, offering optimism and hope for our own future. We also heard about the window itself — its form, its movement or lack thereof, and how our perspective can change as we look through it. Other noticed the positioning of the body in experience and space, or spoke of the window as an “incomprehensible other”— something that we find ourselves engaging with more often these days. The responses we heard seemed to be prose, compared to the poetry that has dominated many past sessions.

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured. If you chose to draw, your are welcome to share as well, simply email your visual file to narrativemedicine@columbia.edu and we will add and credit it to the post here.

Please join us for our next session: Friday, May 1st at 7pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

ARTIST
Marc Chagall b. 1887, Vitebsk, Russia; d. 1985, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
TITLE
Paris through the Window
DATE
1913
MEDIUM
Oil on canvas
DIMENSIONS
53 9/16 x 55 7/8 inches (136 x 141.9 cm)
CREDIT LINE
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift
COPYRIGHT
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

5 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EDT April 29th 2020

  1. Looking through my window~~

    The pane is clouded over, distorting what is on the other side.
    On this side I am safe, cozy.
    Safe from fear, distractions and intruders.
    The sights and sounds of the outside are muffled and reality is blurred.
    Do I venture to clean the surface to sharpen my view?
    Do I really want to know what’s going on out there?
    Has the world changed since my last view or does it still project discord?

    I take my cloth in hand and summon my courage to undertake the cleaning chore.
    Holding my breath, I hope the future is better than the past.
    Gradually the window becomes crystal clear.
    Beams of sunlight pour through the window illuminating my entire room.
    The rays of light fall upon my face, warming my heart, warming my soul.

    There is hope blossoming outside, as the sound of children playing rises to my ears.
    I raise the window to see and hear all the world has to offer.
    To see and hear the signs of rejuvenation.
    All is well with the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All the world outside the window, or perhaps it is all inside now.
    Whether Windows or Mac–my window, which once noted sun or rain–now shows me a small picture of my awkward self as I squint through my glasses, prescription outdated, and into the homes of my colleagues on the other side of the world.
    We are all in our windows, unable to go outside.
    When will our windows open and the MacBooks close?
    I’d really like to turn that corner, breathe fresh air together again, and drink the mediocre coffee from the staff lounge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia D.

    Which window?
    The one above my desk with the budding maple tree and swinging birdfeeder in plane view?
    or
    The one inside my heart with waves of emotions flowing like the ebb and flow of blood?
    Once, while meditating, I noticed my reflection in a window pane that enabled me to see both simultaneously.
    It gave me insight into the illusion of the self (with a small ‘s’) – my personhood was in question.
    It allowed me to let go of the separation between inside and outside.
    It gave me peace.

    Liked by 1 person

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