Jenny Bowen and Drew Meyer

Recorded April 4, 2009 Archived April 4, 2009 01:24:50
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX005116


Jenny Bowen, 28, is interviewed by her colleague, Drew Meyer, 32, about her project “Faces of Asheville.”

Subject Log / Time Code

people were unhappy at how Asheville was changing; Faces of Redding; straight faced portraits
Took 108 portraits; house was burglarized and the camera stolen
Arts Council gave Jenny money to rent a studio to take portraits; 346 portraits exist
Jenny’s interaction with people; what this project means for Jenny personally?
spirituality; Identity is fluid; list of themes that have come up


  • Jenny Bowen
  • Drew Meyer


StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

00:04 My name is Jenny Bowen. I'm 28 years old today's date is April 4th 2009 located in Asheville North Carolina. And I am the executive director of the phases of Asheville project to which Drew is the intern and I am Drew Meyer. I am 32 years old. Today's date is April 4th 2009. We are in Asheville North Carolina and I am the intern to the face of Astral project via the University of North carolina-asheville. So we've got quite a few of these photographs for the face of Astral project in front of us and I thought maybe you might start off might be nice to talk a little bit about the history of the program because I know that since I've started with the project is actually the second incarnation of faces of Asheville, and I'm since I've heard just a little bit about the initial project tell me a little bit about really what was the inspiration for the project and then what went wrong.

01:01 Okay, thanks. So I had went to I've lived in Asheville for 13 years almost or 12 years. I guess at that point and went to college here graduated from here and felt like I needed to get out of my box. So I went into the Americorps and I travelled and ran into some terrible situations with some run-ins with the law over some underage drinking and I ended up losing my position losing my house and having nowhere to go when all this happened and when that happened I chose to make it no matter what cuz I wanted the experience of being responsible for myself. But while that was all going on, I was in a city at the same time that was no heavy into Despair and gentrification and ghettoized and

02:01 Analyzed but regardless it was in a terrible state of despair. Most people. I don't know. I just I get to see the underbelly of America which is completely separate from what is a is Reading Pennsylvania. And so when I came out of that experience some eight months later of living kind of you know on whatever I can scrape by I came back to Asheville on probation because it was my permanent residence when I came back here. I discovered that Asheville was something special something. I haven't seen before coming home again gave me a new perspective and I felt like I had a purpose in being a Nashville I did so it's a weird thing with people and Asheville sometimes feel a belonging to the city to the region. And so for the first time ever since living here, I felt like I actually belonged here.

03:01 And I kept seeing all my peers being very unhappy about how Asheville was changing and adjusting and developing and tourism and how that play a role in our community because that is our know pretty much our bread-and-butter here on this mountain Mecca. So as people started to get down on the community and the city, I have all these Reflections about like the worst case scenario that it could be still recently on my mind and I decided I needed to take some inspiration and I'm sure the community how great it really is.

03:40 So while I was in Reading there was a gentleman there who works at the University or the college that I was also working at his name is dr. John Pankratz, and he's a photographer and he did this project called the faces of reading and what he did say, he had people come into this Art Gallery downtown and he just took a straight portrait of them and it inspired me because like even though it couldn't get any part of a person's personality just from there straight face portrait. I could get a sense of the city and I thought you know Asheville has a lot of people who really deserve to have a portrait made of them because self-identity and self-awareness here is so fluid and self-expression is so welcomed that people here have the ability to create their own individual identity on whatever plane and be accepted. So that's what I started off to do is to show people like how great the city really is and how to

04:35 Work forward on that and I took the ideas of John Pankratz and I applied it to my own photographic documentary skill. I have a background in that from UNC Asheville and went ahead and sergeants face is about to portrait project which started in I started laying the groundwork in June 2007 and just sort of put the word out on the street and coffee shops with little flyers and on the campuses and such as that just saying, you know calling in Asheville and come to my house that's in downtown Asheville. I have a little portrait studio. We're going to have a party on July 7th, and we're going to go ahead and try and document Asheville time figure out. What is Asheville. So come as yourself come as you are and bring something with you that's a part of your personality that you wanted this play Xzibit the ties you into this being your community you're home.

05:27 So I threw this giant party we had probably about three other people show up. We got about 35 photos that day. A lot of people just wanted to see what it was about before they accidentally or actually signed on there's a little speculation. I think with people who died first document themselves a chance to see some of the the large number of photos you took for the second condition this project for the first party. Did you actually take multiple photos per person or was it more of a photographer? That's one of my took me a long time to switch over to digital. This is the first digital project that I've ever worked on. I'd always been for like 12 years previous. I've been a film photographer. My grandfather was a film photographer it with the US Army in the second world war the Korean War and Vietnam War and so having that kind of background looking at loving old photos. I had a real hard time letting go of the tangible process of the dark room. So after I train myself on digital photography for

06:27 Months before I started this project. I recognized some of the advancements of it as far as how fast it moves both in taking the picture and then developing the photo and there's an efficiency about it. That's that's like a so what I decide to do is take Sports Action photography portraits, cuz each moment is a different moment with a person and I try and connect with everybody take a portrait of with my eyes versus with the lens. So however, I'm looking whatever I'm giving them. They're giving back to me and each moment can be different. So that's why I try not to and take several different pictures. And then I look at you know, three hundred shots and pick the best portrait that best accurately portrays them gives the most information and also makes them look in the best light both me and them as I'm the documentary, I want to look good with a good photo as much as they want to look at in their own portrait.

07:20 So anyways, we took all these pictures and I've gotten a hundred and eight people that summer in the month of July 2007. He gotten a hundred people. There was a hundred and eleven people signed up at 108 people. I went out to Sandy much more night had dinner at a friend's house and we were coming back in and I got this phone call from my roommate and he says Jen the house has been burglarized and I said what I said dear God take anything but the camera in the hard drive because that's where all the photos are stored and it was like so much work that I got into it at this point because every single person who came in I spent a minimum of an hour with getting to know them getting to know what made Asheville their home getting to know what they liked what they disliked their personality, you know, and what was important to them and those. Those moments documenting those conversations with those portraits with something that you know, so many hours were

08:20 Clinton to and when I got home and I saw that they broken in through the studio to the back door. That was where the studio was and knocked over the backdrop and crushed all the lights and Brogan everything and then all they took they didn't take so much in the house all they took with the camera and the hard drive. They didn't take their computer. They didn't didn't even take the chords to make the darn things work, but it was just so frustrating and I looked at my computer and I had like 27 portraits that we're still left that I asked you to actually accidentally had backed up on the computer setup on the hard drive. So how many you had 27 left that party and Summer from that the very very end. So is a real mix of what I had left and I said, you know I have these well I was devastated for about 3 minutes actually more like 30 is about 30 minutes. I was actually devastated. I was sitting there thinking about that on my front porch after the place.

09:20 Cayman basically said you know, there's nothing that they're going to sell to a pawn shop go will look tomorrow. But you know, don't get your hopes up. This is usually been the end of the project. Yeah, definitely definitely so I got really down for a few minutes and then I was sitting on the front porch with my boyfriend at the time and he was like man, this is terrible and I'm like, you know, it's not though because this person who took this from me, they can't take those conversations. They can't take those meaningful moments those moments still exist, but they only exist my memory and I need to recreate them again. So I said I'm going to sit about that sit and think about this for three days and then I'm going to go ahead and then decide whether or not I want to try to do this over again.

10:01 And on the third day somebody quoted to me, you know a William Shakespeare quote that says there is nothing that is either good nor bad, but it was thinking that makes it so and I realized that that's true and that chaos is just also an opportunity and itself and it was the greatest life lessons to that point that I think I learned, you know, I learned at the previous year when I was in reading and all my terrible things happen, it's still let me to really beneficial life experience. So I said well, I'm going to go ahead and try this again and we had a fundraiser and raise an incredible amount of money very easily surprisingly because there's a lot of community backing it made the media you how did it make a video of just curious cuz I know that there was a lot of support came in for the second and turn the whole project into something much more meaningful and that there was an underground word about the project now, but I was almost to the end and people were you know, still not sure they hadn't signed on.

11:01 Or they just hadn't bothered to go to the website to sign on is also very difficult. The first time you had to call me to make a personal appointment the second time you can just go online and sign up there. So we definitely use the first time as a means to advance ourselves and our know how you got the the word out for the second project here. So I had those left and there was some remark ability about them that people appreciated people thought they were accurate fun interesting good portraits of people and they knew them they can identify them instantly somebody that they know the community without it made WLOS news. It made man Express did a small feature on me and then they didn't even bigger feature when I announced that I raised enough money to come back and do it again. So with the help of all of the community support I was able to go to the Arts council's and the Arts council's of the local region gave me $800 to sublease a studio for my friend Ben betzalel down at the wedge gallery.

12:01 And we did it down there from we started on we went in on January 1st 2008. We started portraits on January 19th. We continued portraits until April 19th working an average of 2 day to 10 hour days a week in the studio taking portraits of anybody who would come in and just getting the word out as much as we could on the street and digitally and through the press and the media and we got a fair representation. I think of what actually is almost every

12:40 Class culture or community that I can think of that exist in Asheville. There's at least one person and that nearly three hundred and I think is 346 portraits currently exists. So include some of the early ones as well some of them some of the people who didn't come back and participate a second time. I allowed the people to choose some people chose not to and some people did so if they came back the second time I use their second portrait, but I kind of how I got involved with the project walk into a store and someone handing me your face of Asheville card and thinking this is the most amazing thing and I actually took a stack of them came into my bit my business and turn into handing them out to friends with my friends did however I did not I'm kind of missed that boat I couldn't decide on what I wanted to bring with me. And and so I

13:41 Held off until the until you showed up at Doctor puts his office. So many people said that they felt like they didn't get a chance to participate like they they'd heard about it. Cuz everytime I come in I would send them home with a stack of cards that were like new announcing it business cards announcing the project and telling people how to sign up for it. And then I gave them a self-addressed stamped envelope with the letter inside in the letter said, you know what this project is trying to do is document the Zeitgeist of Asheville. What what its current state is, you know, we make the top 10 list of so many lists and then we're having America's happiest City by Eric Weiss. I think his name is the geography of bliss. And so, you know, we just have this sort of stick by the time given to us whether or not we've actually chosen it or wanted to write so I just I kind of wanted to actually see from the inside, you know, instead of reading about us some papers from the outside. What is going on here. And what what do people want? What's what's

14:41 What's important to them kind of using it as a as a new model of communitarian thought and localist activist trying to see how to connect people. Did you find out? So what I found out was a bunch. How many letters did we get back to you looking through well over a hundred votes between 100 and is almost there to do on your 23rd off with their their former about what they liked and disliked to that out after one where they want to see it in X number of years too. And so we scanned all of that into the archival and then it went through the letters which took us about

15:31 I think it took us three weeks to go through all that you do all the letters and then sit down and talk about what issues that we felt were being brought in cuz I know that we would bring in the first week and every one of each person was a member of that that group had done about halfway through it some of those D. I will read it over the night will come in the next time we'll talk about it. Looks like it's going to flatter after lateral and some of them you just have to read and then you have to put down and walk away from the project for like an hour or so because it's just some of them very intense and some of them are extremely personal and it's it's really impressive because you can't touch this person five night and you at least have the experience to meet these people at the photograph them. I kind of came out this is how much almost a tabula rasa like, I didn't know who these people were. I I came at just come from ground zero and reading these and seeing how they

16:26 You mean where people asked to write letter? Yeah, so that says a self-addressed stamped envelope that I mailed that I gave them at the end of long with the stack of cards to go tell others about it cuz it really was a lot about word of mouth as well as an experiment to see how connected Astro really is because there's a to follow through with directions separation here. So it's still a small Mountain Community. You can't tell you can't sleep with your sister's husband and not expected to get back to her at The Hair Parlour kind of thing. That happens here.

17:03 Not one of these letters. Can you be specific that we had everything from a fourteen-year-old? I think that was the youngest letter we got back. Yeah. Yeah and his was great. It actually turned out to be one of my students which was really cool one having red having met him and then shortly thereafter coming across his letter and you know try making this connection in in history cuz this is the other thing I said, I would tell people like these portraits are going to go into the archives. These portraits are going to go into the archives of the city. They're going to last for a hundred years or more at unc-asheville special collections library, and that's actually where this recording will end up as well. This is what we're going to do the recording coffee, but basically I do know I asked people to know how do you want to be remembered? How do you want Asheville to be remembered exhibit yourself as you are and I'll be proud of that.

18:03 You know celebrate your individuality amongst community. And you know, I was reading a whole lot of different theories of philosophy and everything at this time learning about post-modernism and just like the individual effort and like how to bring individuals back into a sense of community especially things at the digital age. They connect us yet separate us at the same time. So this this project has been a huge research project for me on that level but to see these people and like I don't know what is surprising thing that you learned through that you didn't expect.

18:41 Coming into this project why didn't have a thing for me and I didn't have a sense of what Asheville was previous to my moving here in 2000. And so reading these stories from True Asheville natives as opposed to Asheville locals who'd been there for, you know, their entire lives in these are people who are not six years old some of them and talking about the history. And when what it was like listening to their stories about how Asheville had changed over the years. I think that was a real eye-opener for me some of the things in Asheville is I think after you've been in Nashville for X number of however, it takes for you to have those experiences not that you won't be surprised by what you'll encounter certainly not but this is a pretty

19:36 Liberal town in in both thought in philosophy and an action and so the wave people represent themselves and Asheville was actually a little surprising to me when I first got here and then I got into the into the groove of it until France and I feel completely comfortable wearing Circa 1980s thingy Boppers on my head while I walk down the street and if I'm feeling like I need to do that, I'm more than happy to do it. And I know that no one is going to be no at least not pointing openly mocked me though that the kids seem to find it pretty pretty fun. I mean that's that's basically what I'm learning as well from these conversations. I'm is it's just kind of like in Asheville right now. There's a grouping of people who are coming together who are interested in

20:26 Being themselves and discovering who they are and that's a multiple levels. It's with Arts. It's with Eco sustainable Leti. It's with spirituality. It's with self-expression at Subway self-identity and like their you know, it's an understanding that identity is also fluid sexual identity personal identity. However, you self-identify. It's all very fluid and the moment changes and your moments, you know are influenced by your environment and your community. So basically that's that's what I see in these portraits.

21:04 What can you

21:07 For the listing I can you describe some of the portrait setting take what are the three things that people would bring in to represent themselves. I really wish we had two and they could see me a wonderful photo spread out in front of different individuals. What was the one item that that people brought the most camera's perspective perspective is what I should be at the camera. It's like having wanting to see the world through the lens is wanting to perceive the world in it and a specific Viewpoint and there's a lot of people here who want that kind of perspective. The other thing was dog's ass was a very much Dogtown there was two cats and one of them turn into a fiasco loose and in the rain and I got lost by the train yard where the studio was in the girl into hysterics. Try taking a good picture of somebody

22:07 Turns out the cat was fine and everything worked out hunky-dory right at the end of the portrait session as things tend to work. But yeah, there was I mean, it was really interesting some days like people best friends or Ex-Wives ex-lovers would show up on the same day and like not recognize that the other had signed up at the same time and like, you know, they be fine with each other but they're really groups of people who would come on specific days without necessarily it was like a clairvoyant that time so she could see this woman here. This is Saint Martin. She's great as far as just a wonderful kind sensitive human being and she's very much into branding and tattooing and piercing and just specifically branding which is actually making the skin dries up more and so that's very common on the western part of this continent, but it's not so common here in the East without going to your big big Metro cities as anyone still alive.

23:07 Can you go to a big city? Like Atlanta is still more conservatively base. It's not necessarily accepted throughout the whole city that you can walk around being a branded freak quote on quote, right but in Asheville, it's something that's totally, you know, celebrated great photograph because you know, she decided that to bring a mohawk that has been dyed red and cheese. What would you call these that she has resorted soldiers? Those are floggers and I think what I like about this picture most and it seems obvious be really drawn to the face and to this code area, but I think I like the most is her forearms on her right arm. She has tattooed. It looks like lightning and in a dark pink and on her left arm. She's I guess branded a mirror image of that lightning and it's just barely visible system is white and it's it's a really fancy this spiderweb there and there's tattoos. He looks like she's a very stoic she looks like a warrior and to be honest like

24:07 I mean, she's a sweetheart to death. I mean she calls you Hun. She's like sweetheart. She's got this like lovely Southern rasp about her that I just adore you give her a hug every time you see her. She's so sweet and kind but she's also using pain in this fashion much like birth. It's like a wall that you get through. And once you do it everything in life is easier because you can you know, you know brand yourself or Pierce yourself or stretch yourself in a way that you didn't think was possible and you proved yourself that anything's possible and that you cannot stand it right in front of his brother Christopher brother Christopher. I think we have to talk about for just a second as far as important then we'll maybe pick out one other to identify here that we have in front of us. But brother Christopher is a is a self for a monk Mad Monk of Montford is actually what he calls himself. He's a local guy who moved here. We're not really sure what his background is supposedly the legend goes that he was a very smart.

25:07 Wise Professor up north and had a wife and a family and something happened and he gave it all up and he moved to Asheville where he addresses himself in this long red robe. He's growing his hair out until like one single dreadlock and a long bearded dreadlocks that comes from his mask facial hair looks like a collection of I would not be surprised found objects. I know I see him downtown quite often and and I've heard different stories about his Origins too. Well, and I'm sure he doesn't dissuade people from from coming up with one that I'm sure he comes up with a couple of good ones himself, whatever you want to believe. But yeah, he he he was really interesting cuz I'm his and his specific interview and I had him and there he came a little very last day of the portraits cuz I like found them as like brother Christopher. You were known here as somebody who who is a part of Asheville in a big way you are self-identified as part of this community. So you need to come get your picture taken cuz you're definitely one who I

26:07 Exhibit yourself just in his mannerisms and how he acts and cuz there's nobody in town who I would say does not know who brother Christopher is so when I was asking him, you know, like what brought you here? What brought you to Asheville and what is know what do you think is a potential and he says, well, you know, I'm a prophet. I'm a Visionary and I got his told me that Ashley was either going to be a place that will be taken out with nuclear fallout. Oral-B a place will set off a spiritual bomb a revolution and I was like what the extremes on any level but you know, that's what he says, you know keeps him here and he's working on the side of trying to create good in this world and all that so that he was definitely a very interesting face of Asheville to to document capture and you actually went out and looked for several people to I know that not everyone specifically came.

27:07 Desired especially those who may not have reminded not have the necessary the representation initially that you wanted. Definitely. I wanted to make sure that there was a Mexican American population that was documented because all too often those people hide from our communities because even if they themselves are not dealing with immigration issues probably somebody that they know is and they don't want to get it back to them. So I had to look for that. I found a woman who had moved here as a Mexican and became married and and has a Mexican-American daughter and so they were willing to participate actually asking what they held with Mexican flag and American flag and it's a very sweet touching photos the portrait of them and then I made sure some of our Russian population was represented. We had a Vadim and Yogi Berra who are both they actually came from the Ural Mountains. I believe the other the other old.

28:07 Mountain range here in the world supposed the Appalachian Mountains through either the oldest or second oldest. But so that's see that we had made sure. I went after our low income housing neighborhoods. I want to make sure and you know, this is our primary primarily black African-American neighborhoods. And that's a problem Asheville has or or challenge. I would say it's Challenge and opportunity to do something about that conversation that's going on in Nashville right now for sure is about how to start to build Bridges between the African-American more destitute population of Asheville and the more affluent white population of Asheville where that's going to go who can say but I definitely got some of those people in there, especially one woman and Lucille with 88 years old and she was mixed Heritage. She was African-American and white so she was mulatto and

29:00 Has blue eyes and coffee colored skin and African features. So she's just a very beautiful stunning woman and she carries herself with such a presence and Grace and she was telling me when she came in for her portrait is also on the last day of the of the projects she came in and said that she remembered Asheville when it was you no coloreds this and wipes that and since she came from Amex back on her cousins could pass as white and she passes black cuz she had African features even though she has he Stark piercing blue eyes, and she wore blue outfit and her and her portrait and so it just brings out her features. Just eystein. I've actually think we have it. We had it here, but I gave it to her cuz I saw her on the street and I was like I have to give this to you cuz she touched me since a very personal way, but that was just listening to her stories about, you know, watching her cousin go to the dances that would happen once a week, and she couldn't go or riding the school bus to school and she couldn't cuz she

30:00 African features

30:02 So that you know, there was some very touching people who came and then we had some some really interesting people who came as far as we had Michelle Moog. Who's Bob Motz daughter Bob Moog the guy who you know revolutionize music with Moog the Moog instrument pitch of Asheville in and saying, you know that Asheville and moger basically linked we had I got some city council people Carl mumpower who's kind of our local conservative Asheville City Council of conservative. Yeah, he ran for he ran for District 11 in the House of Representatives and losses Pastime to a representative Heath Shuler who is defending his teeth. But Carl didn't a very eccentric way because that's Asheville Asheville Sperry eccentric. Everybody here can be the most wild and weird and and they're still accepted and respected on a

31:02 And revered so it's you know, and then we had some people who we have like other politicians as well. Like Robin Cape who's you know, kind of the I don't know if you call her hippie, but you definitely was in a former life a hippie and now I would call her green the green Council candidates. So it's you know capturing it all the ends because been involved with this project for some time what I find to be most interesting really is among the people but I also like to watch how you interact with them and how you personally deal with the project but deal seems kind of them was negative in a sense because with the offshoot of the phases of Asheville project, we now have her Asheville ABC meetings going on and I get to sit sometimes and watch you in your office answering phones while working on the computer while being interviewed by me while going over notes for

32:02 Last week and next week. So there's a lot of stuff that I think you're going through. So I'd what I'm curious is. Tell me a little bit about

32:11 What is Project actually means for you? Not so much for Nashville in general not because you know when all is said and done this is going to be an archive project is going to be around forever and I think part of this while I mean, of course, you're the view the very heart of this project. So I guess it's that I saw something special in Asheville, and I wanted to try and be a documentary and show people hold up a mirror to themselves with my talents and my gifts that I have using the sense of

32:50 I have a Jeffersonian perspective in life. So I believe that each person should rise to the best that they can with their own gifts and abilities that they have matured through their time. And so as I was coming into being a young professional adult, I wanted to take my gifts and talents and incorporate them all together in a means of doing some good for the world and I felt like if I couldn't affect some good on my local level, you know, I could never hope to influence the world in any greater shape. So I wanted to hold a mirror up to my home first to say look at how incredible this is. And do you recognize what's actually happening here take a second and actually try and understand that we each have one story one perspective one grain of sand. But when we bring them all together, we have the beach and it's a much prettier View and I wanted people to start to Envision what they wanted in Asheville by taking a second to see what they actually have right now and that's basically

33:50 Are the actual ABC projects are coming from its it's a sense of self-worth that I get out of doing it. That's why I keep doing it. Keep going.

34:02 Conduit known I mash famous a big fishes in small ponds of Asheville Eye mask famous and I would say that I have some influence and that's kind of cool that I'm bringing together perspectives and I can be somebody who can kind of speak with some some Intrigue and some respectability. It's you know, some people have mentioned to me things like going into City politics myself. I'm at a point right now where I'm not going to jump down that rabbit-hole, but regardless, I think I think I've done something cool here and I really think Drew for helping me because without having some stability. Definitely is important cuz life itself is unstable. So unless you have a rock or an anchor or something to keep you focused and keep you pushing through cuz there were several times. We thought the community conversations aren't even going to happen.

35:02 Yeah, what are those basically out of all those letters that we read we came up with this project called to ask the ABCs of Asheville and they're assembling ideas building our future and connecting communities. So out of all the issues that people talked about that kept coming up over and over and over and over again and some people would touch on like 20 different issues would just focus on one and be very passionate about it. So we kind of took them and we created this group of volunteers of people from different areas of the community and some people who have moved here our friend Jim Barton. He did a lot of activism and organizing in San Francisco in the 60s and 70s. So I knew he would have some of these Grassroots ideas and how to have these conversations. So basically from March 1st through the end of October, we're having a series of conversations every other Friday every other Sunday between two different local stores that are allowing us to use a space to just talk about that issue.

36:02 Oh, we started off with the community networking and digital era digital information Age and what that means and how that's affecting our communities and what we're that's taking the world and we moved into arts and Independent Media getting that dialogue going. Yeah. Definitely. It was I think some good things are going to come out of that conversation and currently run the topic of spirituality which cannot be discussed early in an hour and a half a week. There's a there's two conversations with spirituality and it's it's a very difficult conversation to moderate will say that but it's exactly proving some interesting ideas about what caused people to ask them why they feel they belong hair and why is it a sense of home and what that means and basically it all boils backgrounds that thing I was saying about identity is fluid so spiritual identity and that it's basically that's searching your life to find whatever it is that makes you feel

37:02 I'm I can ask for the place of people come to do that. Then we talked about our culture Our Heritage our history and we working to alternative education alternative birthing alternative parenting alternative medicine. There's a whole bunch of that stuff that's going on in Nashville talking about independent rights for civil unions in glbtq rights talking about connecting us locally connecting us with sister cities connecting us globally and green green is a big thing. We spent like 2 months talking about Green that localism localvore local economies local sustainability if that's possible and if it's not possible, cuz a lot of people feel like, you know, this is a time where you have to learn how to either sustain yourself or learn how to sustain yourself with your friends in your community.

38:02 Are so many people who can bring so many things to the table and what's great about these projects is, you know, we have these flyers / Oliver Asheville and people who come to these meetings know may not have been to any of the previous ones may never come to that any of the later ones, but they come for the one that they feel passionate about or where they're at least they know something about themselves and it's wonderful to have experts people with a vast array and variety of experiences come to these meetings and you know sit and talk and if nothing else wants these people come to the meetings they are looking each other in the eye and they're exchanging ideas. And you know, just because our meeting stop doesn't mean they stop conversation. And so there's a couple of conversations of continued well into the evening after the program timer ended and so I died later on into the other thing is that this is kind of weird trying to do something a little different here and that were carrying the conversations on as well online. We've created an online social networks.

39:02 Do a ning with it. It's the actual ABC ning and it's a place we can go online and you can continue the conversations and it's so it's using digital technology and social networking in a new way, which I think is kind of cool to use it as a tool versus just the kind of a means of like no checking up on your college buddies, but we've got a lot of people who couldn't make it to one or two of them who have certainly gotten online and setting us are we couldn't make it in there. So just tell me what you would have brought so your portrait interested you take a portrait and what did you

39:44 I took a portrait of myself. I did a self-portrait that my studio system David Secreto help me take I brought my dad's bowler cap or Thai place in my head and I kind of jaunty angle John T. I like that word and in it is a in the rim of the cap is a $2 bill fold with Jefferson cuz I said like I would Jeffersonian personality and I have a plume of red and yellow and orange feathers coming out of the side and then I'm wearing them turquoise shirt, which is my favorite color. I've got a turquoise necklace on and then I'm holding a heart and it's a little heart. That was an ashtray that I founded the Salvation Army in a mirror that I had that from a compact disc that broke and I glued it inside it was perfect. So I decided to use that I held it here kind of like, you know, Madonna portraits. They always have the burning heart rate in the center. It was that but it was a it was a heart with a mirror because it was like my love of his holding a mirror up to all my friends and my community

40:44 That was kind of it was a statement about you know doing faces of Asheville.

40:49 I did not take a portrait. I missed that boat which is which is okay. And as to what I would bring it's funny. I've been thinking about it for the last six months or so and I would have just come as I was never there for that day. I think a lot of who I am is inside of me. So, you know, you want a size me size me up with one thing. It's either going to be a close up of the mouth or you know, it look inside the head and since that would not have looked very pretty on film. I would have just been there. I don't know doing something a lot of people brought talents and I had people who are dancing. I people who are telling jokes are people who are drumming and I'm capturing them in the action. So I probably knowing your your talent with improv probably would have asked you to tell some jokes or just start improvising and I would have just kept her that

41:38 So well, we're coming to the end Jen. I want to thank you for for at least creating this opportunity for us to talk about our project certainly has been an absolute pleasure working with you. I know we have several months to go and I'm looking forward to those as much as I enjoy the last couple months been working together. Thanks. Thank you so much. Like again I said, you know life for me like you said can be very up and down as far as all my activities, but you've been a real rock as far as helping me stay focused and keeping this project going through like it deserves to do to finish and I think it would be a lot more fun when we get to the final exhibit in June. Thank you.