Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Walking with nothing

Dear Artists & Friends,
Hello on this pre-winter morning. I am reaching out with news. I’ve been accepted to a 5-day STREET RETREAT with ZEN PEACEMAKERS (https://zenpeacemakers.org/street-retreats/). Three times a year, a group of 15 individuals goes out to bear witness to the conditions of the homeless through the Breadloaf Mountain Zen Center. This winter's retreat is in San Francisco. I cannot say what the experience will be, but I know it will challenge me.
After raising $500 and assembling a mala, I will join a sanga of 15 individuals and bear witness to the homeless situation by living on the streets and begging for money. We will have no cell phones, no tents and no money, no resources other than our true nature. We will experience homelessness first hand, begging for money, finding places to get food, shelter, bathrooms, etc. By bearing witness to homelessness in this way, we start to directly see our impulses, assumptions, prejudices, and boundaries. Practicing with Not-Knowing and Bearing Witness we experience our interconnection, recognize our common humanness, and realize our responsibilities.
We begin our practice before our retreat by assembling a mala, beads strung and worn like a necklace. I have chosen plum seeds and pink carnations. Each bead represents one person. The entire mala represents my community. I will wear my mala on the retreat and plant it afterwards. Donations in any amount may be directed to Breadloaf Mountain Zen Center (BMZC) or given to me (info below). Money collected through this begging practice goes to the social service agencies and public non-profit organizations that will support me on the streets and support the social action projects at Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Center.
Last year, I sat 60 meditations and you helped me raise $1,200 for the homeless in Brattleboro, VT. In 2010, I lived for 3 months in a homeless camp in Seattle to bring awareness to the conditions of the homeless in the Pacific Northwest. I am no stranger to sleeping outside or navigating city streets. This practice goes further. This is not a conceptual work, but a physical meditation. It requires me to be in community and fully present for 5 days. I invite you to sit meditations with me on 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 December.
THANK YOU for supporting me. May you be engaged in your work, happy in your choices & reading something riveting.
I kiss you,
Online at Zen Peacemakers https://zenpeacemakers.org/
Earmark your donation “Mimi Allin, SF Street Retreat”
or Paypal Amy K Allin: mimiallin@gmail.com
or send a check to: Mimi Allin, 420 30th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

Founded in 1994 by Bernie Glassman. On Bernie’s 55th birthday, he led the 1st street retreat in Washington DC, contemplating the question of what to do to serve those rejected by society, those in poverty & those with AIDS.  Upon returning to Brooklyn, he discussed his vision of a container for people wanting to do spiritually-based social engagement with his wife, Sensei Sandra Jishu Holmes. They developed Zen Peacemakers, a Zen order with a strong social action component that would bear witness on the streets, at sites of atrocity & meet the troubles of the world. Here are the street retreat archives: https://zenpeacemakers.org/zpi_media_library/
“When we go to bear witness to life on the streets, we’re offering ourselves. Not blankets, not food, not clothes, just ourselves.” – Bernie Glassman (Founder, Zen Street Retreats)


Sunday, July 12, 2015

TRACT, performance/installation, 2015

A K Mimi Allin
1:30- 6pm Thursday 16 July & Friday 17 July
Hedreen Gallery | Seattle University

TRACT is an installation-performance consisting of an easy chair and a TV. In the chair, sits the artist's recently displaced, 77-year-old mother, Barbara Allin. Barbara's requests for a few additional items – a box of Kleenex, a soduko puzzle, a glass of water, her phone, a newspaper, a steak hoagie from Philadelphia, Stephen King's latest book and to have her hair cut – have been met and the artist's challenge is simple, and impossible. To make art in the midst of all this. To do so, she must navigate the tract of land between herself and her mother, the at-tract/dis-tract of the TV, the con-tract/re-tract of the care being given and requested of her, the sub-tract/ex-tract of their approvals and disappointments in one another and the abs-tract/pro-tract of their mutual destinies.

TRACT is an urgent work made in a time of crisis, in a limbo state. In November, Mimi sold her sailboat, the floating home on which she lived. In February, she gave notice on her studio. She purged her tiny life with the intention of going east to help her mother, then to Mongolia to follow her dream. Troubling news came in March. Her mother's lease was terminated early. She flew to Philadelphia. Eight days later, the two were in a car, driving cross-country.

Despite the artist's full-time efforts, since February, to remodel a friend's basement, the apartment still isn't ready, and so mother and daughter float on. A house-sitting job saw them through April. In May, they stayed with a friend. In June and July, they stayed on with a friend. In September, they'll need to move on. The most difficult challenge, in navigating their new and accidental relationship, is the constant time together. For the first time in 30 years, they two are in daily contact. At times, their relationship is beautiful and loving, at times harmful and regressive.

For the artist, the experience of limbo isn't new. Upon the completion of a work called Tahoma Kora in 2011, she took up residence there. Shaping and addressing limbo has become a major theme in her work, as in Burden of Purpose, 2012, The Woman Who Planted Dreams, 2014 and 108, Performance, 2015. Now her time and energy are being completely squeezed and limbo's even more intense. And her mother is in it. After traveling 3000 miles, Barbara's neither here nor there, and her things are still locked in the trunk of her car. At last, though, Barbara is applying to senior housing, but with wait lists of up to a year, she's in need of immediate, short-term housing, in the $600 range. And is unhappy. And wants to go home. And her daughter is suffering. And wants to be free. And the heat wave. And the time, it drags on.

TRACT is a stretch of time, an area of land or water, a system of organs and tissues that perform a function together. TRACT comes from the Latin tractus for space and trahere to draw or draw out. TRACT is a work is about extended transitions, between homes, passions, roles, about the limits and systems and lapses we find there, about the exhaustions, frustrations and anxieties we make and endure.

Thanks to all our mothers, for their love and time, and to you, my audience, for seeing my pain, and for sharing your stories of caring and being cared for, home and the loss of home, space and the need for space, what it takes to create and how we cope with the inability to create, love and the struggle for love.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

108, Performances

Handmade paper mala with words from a poem by Pablo Neruda

108, Performances

Performance artist Mimi Allin is limiting her vocabulary to 108 words for 108 days beginning on 1 January 2015. Her entire spoken vocabulary will consist of only those words from one poem. Why?! The artist is setting an intention with this work, for an even larger work called The Clown, a research-journey across the Pacific Ocean through China to the Mother Sea in Mongolia, then on to Clown School in Paris. The artist hopes, by shedding her language, to increase her capabilities for deep listening and to foster a practice of embodiment. The artist is wearing the words for 108 on a set of meditation beads around her neck (108 is the number of beads on a mala or rosary). As an extension of her meditation, she is rolling 108 sets of mala (it takes her 5 hours to make one mala). This will result in 108 handmade paper mala. Those who wish to support her work with a donation of $40 or more will receive one of these handmade performance objects. All are welcome to join in this 3-month meditation in poetry. 

To roll beads with the artist and set your own intentions, contact: mimiallin@gmail.com. 

To claim one of these mala or get information about The Clown, visit: akmimiallin.weebly.com.

The artist is grateful to you and everyone in the community who allows her to explore her art.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Woman Who Planted Dreams

Catch A Falling Star by aalst 

The Woman Who Planted Dreams is a 2600-mile journey with a book of dreams (yours). I'm going to plant 200 dreams in a long furrow from Mexico to Canada, in the high, fertile soil of the Sierras & Cascades. Each night, I'll open my book, fix one dream in my mind, breathe it out upon the land & fold it into the soil, along with a real seed. Then I'll catapult a glass crystal to the sky. With ample sunlight, fresh air & nourishment, our dreams just might reach full height.
Is there a dream in your heart? If so, please send it to me. I'm inviting one dream per person & a donation of $10. In exchange, I'll dedicate one night of my journey to you. Mail your dream / offering to: Mimi Allin, 117 E Louisa St #201, Seattle, WA 98102 or e-mail: mimiallin@gmail.com & donate online.  Anything over $10 goes to the project. And if you can't donate, just send your dream. I'd prefer a good dream to a bad feeling. Deadline: 1 April 2014. Dreams received after this  will take a long time to reach me, but when they do I'll plant them in line with the others. Don't let a deadline curtail your dream. Read more about this project & follow this journey at THE WOMAN WHO PLANTED DREAMS.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hunger by A K Mimi Allin

Hunger is a month-long work about the artist's hunger, or lack thereof. It aims to reignite the vital spark of the artist whose soul is flagging (mine) and to open the door (now frozen) to a new and fully engaged artist. How long can one swim in an empty trough waiting for the soul to harvest intention? It is going on 22 months since I returned from my spiritual center (Tahoma Kora) and nothing has budged. Is there no way forward? This is not artist's block. It is a bardo state en route to a reincarnation. I've tried to be who I was before. I am not that person. I must look for the way to my new order and set upon that path.

Hunger is a quiet, genuine, intense endeavor that involves an extended fast followed by a time of receiving, setting the stage for a shift in thinking about who receives and who gives when a work is shared. Hunger takes place from 24 August - 21 September. Starting Saturday 24 August, I'll take only water and salt.  In 2 weeks, I'll break my fast, at NEPO 5k Don't Run 2013 on Saturday 7 September, and in the coming weeks put my hunger in your hands. NEPO 5k attendees and the larger community are invited to consider what nourishes the artist (in you and in me) and to bring me anything that will assist in my growth as an artist.

What does nourishment look like—food, drink, touch, color, song, dance, truth, presence, poetry, love? What does the artist need to survive? To thrive? From 7-21 September, I will live on your carefully considered gifts. Each will have a profound impact on my recovery and on the dialog surrounding this work. As you may have guessed Hunger is my not so transparent ploy to receive (you). This work is grappling with the question (issue) of giving/receiving.

I am equally scared and excited about Hunger. I am a healthy eater. I love food. My weight is normal for my height. I've never fasted. I am expected to lose a pound per day. But if I can rebuild my hunger (the hunger of the artist), it will have been worthwhile. If you are stuck now considering the wisdom of this tack or are worried about my health, read Steve Hendrick's article Starving Your Way to Vigor on the history of fasting and its curative effects, then perhaps you'll want to fast along with me?

When we fast, our bodies shift from burning sugars to burning fats and, in just 3 days, we lose our hunger. For an artist who champions hunger as a motivating force, fasting sounds like a tricky proposal. Apathy, indifference, comfort–those things we can no longer taste because we've had too much–can all incapacitate the artist. But for the one who seeks to rebuild her hunger, what are the choices?

Psychologists say we're hard-wired to give, but are we hard-wired to receive? To receive, one must face what it means to be weak, to need help, to rely on others. About this, I am no good, no good at all. Hunger will bring me face to face with this difficult truth—I am tied to you—while celebrating the artist in everyone. Indeed we need one another, if we hope to grow and transform. That is, I need you.

The formal time for receiving will end on 21 September. From that time forward, I will then take what I have learned and set out on a new path of self-nourishment. If you live in Seattle, consider attending NEPO 5k. If you live elsewhere, postcards, letters and packages are most heartily welcome (Send to: Mimi Allin, 117 E Louisa St #201, Seattle, WA 98102).

Further posts about this project will appear on a separate blog, The Hunger of the Artist. I welcome you to follow my progress there.

* This work is dedicated to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, 106 of who have been on a hunger strike since March 2013. I invite you to join me in writing for their release.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Joe Iano Photography

BURDEN OF PURPOSE is a 2-person study with separate but complimentary cycles being performed by A K Mimi Allin & Haruko Nishimura at Mount Pleasant Cemetery on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. This work began on 1 January 2013. At the time of this posting, it is 23 January and we have carried 23 burdens. Our goal is 49. We need 26 more participants. We are grateful for every participant.

Here is what to expect. Mimi, in a work/rest cycle, lies on the ground until she is cold, then rises to work, raking grass, until she is warm. Haruko, in a silence/song cycle, carries a heavy rock until she is tired, then climbs a tree to sing folk songs, as a release and a blessing. We move between tasks until cold and fatigued, then depart to find dialog with our viewers. Participants bring burdens for Haruko to carry  (literal, symbolic or metaphorical) and lay something (an idea, image, thought, person) to rest with Mimi. Contact the artists to coordinate a visit. Mimi: mimiallin@gmail.com and Haruko: goodharuko@gmail.com. See our blog Purpose of Burden for detailed information about this work and our schedule.
There is an open call to all POETS & WRITERS to witness our work and write from the experience. So far two poems have been written. We hope for many more. Please contact us. If you are a professional photographer and wish to document our work, we want you. We are experimenting with the idea of photographer as witnesses/participant and hope to bring all the image makers together at the close of the project to dialog about their role. We've had four photographers work with us so far. We hope for many more. We're involving numerous artists in the hopes of uncovering the greatest number of facets which will hopefully help us get closer to the source of our cycles (the opposing forces).
This project will culminate in some form of group study or show to include all art that is generated. Various witnesses have already returned to conduct their own cemetery studies.
If art transcends the endless cycle of life and death, the burden of purpose is when we attend so well to life and death that art emerges.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Performance-Installation by A K Mimi Allin

Conceptual artist A K Mimi Allin is walking down Greenwood Avenue in Seattle, WA (between 65th & 87th St) embracing telephone poles. This is happening 2 hrs/day at either morning or evening rush hour, 3-5 times per week. The artist carries with her a blue sheepskin to wrap around the telephone poles, to make them embraceable, hinting at those fur-covered surrogates used to 'mother' orphaned animals in zoos. 

When the blue fleece is laced up, she hugs the pole and thinks of a relationshippast, present, future or imagined—allowing the thoughts to come. When she's done hugging, she composes a handwritten letter and posts it right there on the pole. This 5-week project began on Friday 10 August 2012. 

Surrogate highlights the artist's need to give and receive. It also considers her need for an audience and the result of not having one. It takes the poet's obsession with communication (often expressed alone, in a car, an office, using e-mail, Facebook, cell phone text) and makes of it an absurd performance. But alas, relationships, no matter the kind—real, thwarted, imagined, online, even fantasies, characters in books—allow us to love and therefore have value.

The artist's unspent love is on display that it might spark a dialog about where and when we meet—in dreams or on the street. Passersby will be invited to revisit their own real or imagined relationships.

"Surrogate" is a temporary public-art installation supported by Art Interruptions which is funded by SDOT 1% for the Arts funds and administered by the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. It runs 5 weeks and launched on Friday August 10 in tandem with PhinneyWood Summer Streets 2012.

Monday, May 07, 2012

"Sonnets in the Sand" Logistics

SONNETS IN THE SAND begins Wednesday 9 May. We'll use the message board in the day-use parking lot at Kalaloch Campground to communicate. Check there when you arrive. We'll post the Camp Shakespeare site # to help you find your way to main camp and daily messages about where we are on the beach and how the scribing is going. If you have messages for us, post them there, attention "Camp Shakespeare." Camp Shakespeare will maintain a continuous camp for 1-2 weeks beginning Wednesday 9 May. All are welcome to join the nightly bonfires.

Kalaloch Beach is 170 miles from Seattle, a 3.5-hour drive. From Interstate 5, take Exit 104 at Olympia and head west to Aberdeen-Hoquiam. From Hoquiam, go north on U.S. 101. The beach is between the Hoh and Quinault Indian reservations.

I'll be making 3 roundtrips from Seattle to Kalaloch to transport scribes. I have room for 1-3 riders on each trip. Call me (Mimi cell # 617-460-6110) if you want a ride. Trips will run as follows, with morning departures from Seattle and evening arrivals back to Seattle:
1) Weds 9 May - Friday 11 May
2) Saturday 12 May - Sunday 13 May
3) Monday 14 May - Weds 16 or Thurs 17 May

There are over 100 sites at Kalaloch Campground. All sites are close to the beach and relatively close to one another. If we want to, but can't all be together, we can take adjacent sites. There are picnic tables, fire pits and bathrooms with running water at Kalaloch, but no showers. Kalaloch Lodge, a mile south on 101, runs a general store and a restaurant. The Olympic Coast is full of wind and weather. Bring a warm hat, a rain jacket, layers (especially non-cotton) and two warm shoes. We'll have camp stoves for making tea and coffee so bring your mug.

Want to get familiar with the sonnets before you arrive? Peruse Shakespeare's Sonnets here. No need to print unless you want to. I will have print-outs on paper.

Sonneteers will need to know about and work with the ocean tides. You can view a tide chart here and/or pick up a tide table at the nearby ranger station. Following the tides is our first and simplest connect, our way of being here, present, in tune with the land. At low tide we'll have our biggest palette. Anything above the high tide line won't get swept away, so we'll need to stay between the two. Wake up Shakespeare. Put him to bed.

Venus will dominate the evening sky, reaching maximum brilliance at the start of the month. It'll be high in the West and set 3.5 hours after the Sun. By mid-month it will set 2.5 hours after the Sun and, at month's end, 40 mins after the Sun. Mars is fading but still high in the evening sky. It's the bright reddish “star” nearly overhead early in the evening. Mars will spend the month moving eastwards below the constellation of Leo. Saturn is easy to see in the eastern evening sky. This month it can be seen in the east at the start of evening making a nice but distant pair with bright 1st magnitude Spica. There will be a solar eclipse on 20 May for those who wish to stay on and wander on the peninsula. It will be a spectacular annular (ring of fire) solar eclipse, a big deal and something that won't happen again for 18 years.

Monday, March 19, 2012


SONNETS IN THE SAND begins on 9 May 2012 with artist A K Mimi Allin and a group of scribes on the Pacific Coast of Washington State, writing Shakespeare's Sonnets (all 154 of them) into the sand at low tide. Following the basic anthropological move of Shakespeare from Old World to New and west across the plains, the Bard, we believe, is headed for the Pacific Ocean. Scribes will reside with the artist on a bluff above Kalaloch Beach, exploring the brevity of life, the transience of beauty and the trappings of desire, while tucking Shakespeare away in the surf. This endeavor will continue until all sonnets are scribed. Sonneteers of all ages wanted to join for a day, an overnight, or a full week. Contact mimiallin@gmail.com.


Europeans brought many things with them to The New World — philosophies, theologies, recipes and books, namely Shakespeare and the Bible. Over the years we've held tight to these things, so tight, in fact, we failed to experience the philosophies, theologies, recipes and stories already here, here all along. SONNETS IN THE SAND is a public art project about love and letting go. It begins with William Shakespeare and ends with an offering of hair. Subsequent to her time on the coast, the artist will have her hair cut in recognition of the national apology to the Native Americans signed by President Barack Obama in 2009.


There is an old Zen story about teacups and emptiness and how we cannot be filled until we are empty. SONNETS IN THE SAND is about emptying ourselves so we can return, as pilgrims, to the New World, completely open to the experience before us. Once we've honored and let go of Shakespeare, we'll be better able to honor the native lands and cultures. To mark this subtle, internal shift, we'll fast from sundown to sunrise on the last day of scribing and sit in silent meditation. The next day, we'll break camp. It is hoped a personal journey ensues from this work for all scribes.

The artist dedicates this work to her friend and favorite brother, Richard C. Allin, Jr., and to his true love wherever she may be. Thank you for your generous support!!


Kalaloch National Park Campground is on Highway 101 at milepost 157. Kalaloch operates on a reservation system from 15 Jun - 02 Sep. The price is $16 during the reservation period and $12 before and after, reverts back to first come first served.

Kalaloch Lodge
157151 Highway 101
Forks, WA 98331
Phone: 360-962-2271

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Studies in Occu(py)(pation) Logistics

Artist Studies in & around Occupy Seattle
Seattle Central Community College, Westlake Park, City Hall
8A-8P on Saturday 17 December 2011

A K Mimi Allin
* Hand Book
8AM-8PM at SCCC & Westlake Park (ongoing)
Wearing a 2 lb. weighted glove, the artist will repeatedly raise and lower her right hand until her arm is fatigued. She will then ink her hand and make prints of it in a large Hand Book. The prints will then provide prompts for writing. Writing will be done with her left hand. This study uses the Occupy logo as a starting point for exploration. Onlookers will be invited to ink their hands and contribute a print to a guest Hand Book.

Stephen Roxborough
* Study to Vacate and Occupy the Mind
9AM (ongoing) starting at SCCC moving to Westlake Park
Artist will meditate for 20 minutes in each location, attempting to clear the thoughts that occupy his mind. When thoughts arise, he will record them on paper and begin to meditate again. Between sittings, he will move mindfully and thoughtlessly, studying other artists with his camera, taking pictures and referencing his list of discarded thoughts.

Shannon Stewart
Study of Movement/Occupation & Outside/Inside
10AM-12PM starting at SCCC moving to Westlake Park then City Hall
A duet (with Mary Margaret Moore) on the inside/outside experience of the movement that doesn't move.

Mary Margaret Moore
Study of Movement/Occupation & Outside/Inside
11AM-12PM at City Hall
Movement study that explores being inside/outside systems, all the while in duet with another mover (Shannon Stewart) who is conducting her own study in procession from SCCC, Westlake to City Hall.

John Burgess
Public reading of Walt Whitman. Artist will stand atop a soapbox and read aloud from Drum-Taps, including Song of the Banner at Daybreak, Beat! Beat! Drums! and Rise O Days.
12PM at Westlake Park

Lainne Dexter
Recipe for Change/To Bake an "Occu-Pie"
1PM at Westlake Park
Performance Art Piece

Nat Phen (with Benson Smith & band)
"Effects of Ambient Organized Vibrations on Social-Political Group Dynamics" or "To What Will the People Bop?"
2-4PM at Westlake Park
Nat Phen will give an audible voice/cry to the Occupy movement with their Popular/Blues/Mexican/Klezmer/Jazz music.

* Studies with asterisks offer the opportunity for public participation

STUDIES IN OCCU(PY)(PATION) is 5th in the ongoing series, STUDIES IN EVERYTHING, preceded by Studies in White, Studies in Melancholy, Studies in Forgiveness and Studies in Memory.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Studies in OCCU(PY)(PATION)

Saturday 17 December 2011 (8am-8pm)
Westlake Park, City Hall & Seattle Central Community College

Artists experimenting in movement, performance, process, dance, text, sound, voice, music, visual and other media wanted for Studies in Occu(py)(pation), a full-day, outdoor, live art event, 8AM–8PM, on Saturday 17 December at (1) West Lake Park, (2) City Hall and (3) Seattle Central Community College (Seattle, WA). Select a 15-minute, 30-minute, 1-hour or 2-hour time slot. Engage in a stationary or moving study anywhere in one of the three locations. All genres considered. No plug-ins available. Self-supporting, low-tech only. Situated in an open urban area. Standing audience unlikely. Studies overlap and continue for the length of the event. This is a free and independent event generated by working artists in Seattle.

Send an informal e-mail to mimiallin@gmail.com with your: (1) name, (2) contact info (3) work history (brief) / link to your website, (4) one sentence expressing your medium and idea for the study, (5) desired study location and (6) desired study time and length. There is no formal deadline, but to receive proper attention and be placed on the schedule, before 10 December is best.

Studies in Occu(py)(pation) is 5th in a quarterly series called STUDIES IN EVERYTHING, preceded by Studies in White (January 2010), Studies in Monk, Mompou and Melancholy (April 2010), Studies in Forgiveness (July 2010) and Studies in Memory (November 2010). The goal of STUDIES IN EVERYTHING is to form a temporary community and to have that community study, in a collectively and public way, a topic, mood, color, place or idea. Studies aren’t about finished, choreographed work, they are about the artist’s process. We do not spend a great deal of time preparing for or reporting on studies, but spend time partaking in studies and thus evolve as artists. 10-40 artists participate in each study. For examples of past studies and to see images and videos, visit our FB group page STUDIES IN EVERYTHING.

Artists are encouraged to visit the site before their study to consider weather and other conditions that may affect their work (noise levels, crowd flow, lighting, pedestrian pathways, bottlenecks, nearby bathrooms, warm dry places to retreat to, parking situation and bus routes). This is a rain or shine event. Performances will be photo and video-documented.

Studies free us. Unlike their finished and focused counterparts (rehearsals, choreographed pieces and performances), studies show us the artist in the process of discovering. We believe this work helps situate the artist in the community and manifests a real artist-to-world connection. We hope to encourage artists everywhere to envision and set into place parameters for studies and to spend time exploring the world publicly.

This study comes in response to the international political event—Occupy Wall Street. Artists may find it helpful to attend the Occupation, if they haven't already, to help clarify and/or broaden their ideas and approaches. It is not, however, necessary to respond in a political way or to offer a politics-focused study. Studies may be as personal, as quiet or as pedestrian as you wish. Artists are encouraged to take their study in the direction of their choosing, as far or as near the current political situation as they wish.

oc·cu·py verb \ˈä-kyə-ˌpī\
1: to engage the attention or energies of
2a : to take up (a place or extent in space)
2b : to take or fill (an extent in time)
3a : to take or hold possession or control of
3b : to fill or perform the functions of (an office or position)
4: to reside in as an owner or tenant

oc·cu·pa·tion noun \ˌä-kyə-ˈpā-shən\
a : an activity in which one engages
b : the principal business of one's life : vocation

Occupy Seattle
West Lake Park Seattle

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

PEG &FRANK @ Gallery 110

Saturday 8 October at 5PM
Featured ArtsCrush Event
Gallery 110 (TK Building)
Seattle, WA

PEG &FRANK is an elastic collective born in 2011 from the imaginations A K Mimi Allin & Vanessa DeWolf. PEG &FRANK bring visual art, writing poetry, performance art and critical viewing together to manifest a new field of work that lives between the art object and the viewer. We plan events for galleries and artists that facilitate a closer viewing of art, using a process that requires an intensive amount of time in the gallery. Those experiences are then shared with the artists and their audiences at public and private events.

For the exhibit of manipulated photographs by artists Ray Schutte and Jan Cook (Gallery 110), Peg &Frank spent 20 hours with the works of art, including an overnight. We navigated our responsive structure and edited and culled our materials to what was viewed in the gallery on on Saturday night. It was a thrill and an honor to have shared that process with poets Stephen Roxborough & Lyn Coffin and with fellow art maven Mylinda Sneed and cellist Natalie Hall.

To bring PEG &FRANK into your art space, contact: mimiallin@gmail.com.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Public Art Project
October 2011
Seattle, WA

Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) is a novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry about a little boy who lives on an asteroid with one rose and three volcanoes that come up to his knees, one of which is extinct. When The Little Prince decides he is unhappy, he sets off to learn about life and visits seven nearby planets, the last of which is Earth. On his travels, he meets The Lamplighter, a man under orders to extinguish his lamp at daybreak and light it at dusk. The Lamplighter explains how his task, once useful, has become absurd over time as his planet began spinning more and more quickly. Since a new day occurs every minute now, the lamplighter is so busy he hasn't a moment to sleep. Is not The Lamplighter a metaphor for our own condition? We are all so busy doing things we think are of consequence that we miss the smaller, simpler things that make up the truly significant stuff (seeing the stars, sharing a sunrise, listening to a friend, dancing, putting my hands in the earth, talking to the elephants). The Little Prince is a fable about how money, ego and power close our hearts and turn into dimwitted adults.

Performance artist A K Mimi Allin rolls through the Seattle night with a 10' rolling lantern and spinning, papier-mâché planetoid (conceived of and constructed by inventor/designer Clinton Lee Bliss), illuminating and extinguishing her lamp once per minute. When you see her wink of “good night” and blink of “good morning," think to the things of consequence in your life, then come and commemorate someone who believed in you when you a child by painting a golden star on her lamppost. By mid-October, the entire lantern be covered with golden stars and made bright by the light of our belief in one another, and at last the lamplighter will be able to put down her work and take a much needed rest.


• Wallingford Artwalk - 5 October
• Pioneer SquareArtwalk - 6 October
• Fremont Artwalk - 7 October
• Capital Hill Artwalk - 11 October
• West Seattle Artwalk - 13 October
• Greenwood-Phinney Artwalk -14 October

The Lamplighter will light & extinguished her lamp 1,440 times over the next 2 weeks and then install it at the Phinney Center Gallery in Greenwood.
This project received a CityArtist grant from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. Thank you for that!! Cosmic thanks go out to inventor/designer Clinton Lee Bliss for his work on my whimsical lantern. Thanks also go out to the talented & beautiful Mylinda Sneed & her brilliant son Beckett Arnold for their support. Thanks indeed to The Fremont Arts Council for use of The Powerhouse & to Christopher Peragine for his time & expressive drawings. Thanks unending to all those who support & enjoy public art throughout the universe.

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Friday, April 01, 2011


A Human Powered Spiritual Journey

Tahoma Kora is a 3-month, prostrating pilgrimage to and around Mount Rainier. It begins in June 2011. Prostrate means to lie down in adoration. I'll lie down every 3 steps until I've circled the mountain. Tahoma Kora is an attempt to locate the spiritual in the landscape and in myself, of course. It's a joint effort between me and my audience, my patrons. I'm looking for daily sponsors, 90 sponsors at $50 per day, for each day I walk. Each sponsor gives me mantra to recite, to keep me on task. In return, sponsors take half the karma I earn. And if you don't believe in karma, you can always believe in me and my art, in the work I am doing.

I've launched this project on Kickstarter, an online fundraising platform for creative projects. The details are all there. Go to Kickstarter and search "Tahoma Kora" or click here to go directly to my project. Prostrating is beautiful work, a slow shifting between micro and macro, the grass blades, the mountain, the tiny trembling bugs, the wide open sky. It's relaxing and powerful, if not tiring and strenuous.

Please consider supporting me at some level. Kickstarter has information on how to donate. The minimum pledge is $1. There's no maximum pledge. For $10, I'll write your name on my pilgrim's apron. For $50 you give me a mantra to recite for a full day. The scale keeps going to include various handmade treasures, but the thing with Kickstarter is, if I don't reach my fundraising goal of $5000, I receive no money from anyone. Your gift is only processed if I make my goal. I have 60 days to make it. If you feel inspired, share my project with others who may be interested. I thank you and thank you again. May all be happy! Tashi Delek.

Tahoma is a native name for Rainier, an active, glaciated volcano in Washington State (USA), the most prominent mountain in the lower 48, located 95 miles southeast of Seattle.

Further Reading
What Is a Pilgrim? by Swami Veda Bharati
Conversation with a Prostrating Pilgrim
Pilgrimage in Tibet-The Yoga of Transformation by Anne Z. Parker
Our Sacred Land, Chief Seattle's Speech & Letter

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Song of Tent City has a Blog!

For those who wish to follow this project, please visit the Song of Tent City Blog. It is there I will post my experiences as a resident camper at Tent City from late November 2010 through December and possibly on through February 2011. It is there too that I will post my poems and all relevant news and calls for collaboration. Visit from time to time or become a follower. And, if you haven't yet found a way and wish to offer assistance, drop in to Tent City when you have time and come find me for a conversation or stop in and talk to any resident in camp. People are always interested in talking. The camp will be at Maple Leaf Lutheran Church in Meadowbrook neighborhood of Seattle from 27 November to 27 February. For directions and a map click here. It isn't necessary, but if you wish to bring a gift, the following items are always needed: coffee, duct tape, tarps, tents, wool blankets, underwear (men's or women's), hot food and hygiene products. Thank you in advance for your interest and input.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Below are details on 3 upcoming brainstorming sessions for Song of Tent City. These are open, drop-in sessions, to which all are invited to listen and talk. They are about bringing our arts and hearts and minds together to begin a dialogue about what might be possible. Check back here for info on future sessions in December.

Wednesday 17 November (7-10PM)
Studio-Current on Capitol Hill
1417 10th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

Thursday 18 November (6-8PM)
The Fremont Abbey Arts Center (Cafe)
4272 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

Friday 19 November (9-5PM)
SPACE Building in Fremont
600 N 36th St
Seattle, WA 98103

If you can't make a session, but want to meet for tea & talk, contact me at mimiallin@gmail.com with a time and day you'd like to meet and I'll do my best to meet it.

I'm proud to announce that Song of Tent City was selected by the voters at Sprout II to receive $1000 in funding. This will enable me to give myself full-time to the project and will provide money for project materials. Thanks to all who supported my project and to Sprout and The Abbey.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Song of Tent City - December 2010

I approached Tent City 3 on Capitol Hill in Seattle on 20 October 2010 requesting to be their poet-in-residence for the month of December. I was welcomed in and given a tour. They then asked me to write up my proposal so the community could review and vote on it. Tent City 3 is presently at St Marks Episcopal Cathedral on Capitol Hill, but moves to Maple Leaf Lutheran Church in late November, so I'd be joining them in Maple Leaf. I proposed to live in my own mini-yurt and to work alongside the other volunteers in camp. My main task will be to listen, respond and give voice to the residents. I'd also like to identify ways in which I might work with residents to gift something back to the community.

Song of Tent City references Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" written and self-published in 1855. "Song of Myself" was the major poem in Leaves of Grass a collection Whitman edited until his death in the late 1800s. It was the new American epic, a free verse poem cataloguing all of American life. It presented a search for the self, a search for the boundaries of self. It addressed the communion of all peoples and things. It embraced the coarse along with the fine, the weak and the strong, the body and the soul, offering poetic elevation to everything ordinary. There are, I argue, still a few strains missing. It's these missing strains I go in search of, the ones ringing through Tent City. What do they sound like? How might they find expression? As a song, a poem, an installation, a performance, a craft? I don't know, but I intend to find out. The most I can do is to put myself out there and listen for it.

I agree with Whitman, to truly experience the world one must be fully in it and of it. That's why I want to set up my ger (yurt) and work and live with the community. What other way is there to know it? The democracy of the poet must know no bounds. This endeavor is as much about the growth of the poet as it is about the voice of the people. I have no doubt I will take on more than I can give and learn so much more than I could ever teach, but I know too that this is my way. This is what I have to give. Myself.

"This is the meal equally set, this the meat for natural hunger,
It is for the wicked just same as the righteous,
I make appointments with all,
I will not have a single person slighted or left away"

The poet too is democratic. I was once The Poetess at Green Lake. I was later adopted by the global architectural firm, NBBJ. I go now to Tent City. What ever kept me from walking through the gates into the community at Tent City? I do not know. What keeps you from doing so?

While listening for the Song of Tent City, I plan to offer some sort of ongoing art and gift-making opportunity. When we make art, we express our experience. When we make gifts, we become parts of the community. I go then with open eyes and ears, eager to learn the needs of the camp, to facilitate a dialog and arts community. Tent City, as much as any community, needs a poet. I offer myself as an interface and invite you to do the same. This project hopes to show that the unsheltered and the sheltered each have something to give. Strengthening our community begins by valuing each member as a participant. Finding ways to value ourselves and one another, regardless of our needs or skills, enables us to trust one another and form bonds.

I've been invited to present Song of Tent City at Sprout II on Friday November 5th at The Fremont Abbey. All in attendance vote for the project they like best to receive the money raised at the door ($20 door fee includes a home-cooked meal and a vote). Please attend. This event sells out, so get your tickets online asap. If you can't make the Sprout! dinner event, check in here for info on the brainstorming sessions I'll be hosting in November and December. I want to put all kinds of art and intellectual minds together and begin to dialogue about what might be possible. Mostly, I'd like to open the floor for idea sharing and dialogue.

Since Tent City 3 began operating in 2000, it has occupied more than 30 sites around King County. Tent City stays on private land in one location for 90 days before they relocate. As of this posting, the camp is located at St Marks on Capitol Hill. On 27 November, it will move to Maple Leaf Lutheran Church. There are 9,000 homeless people living in Seattle. 2,000 are living on the streets on a given night.

Greater Seattle Cares
Municipal Research and Services Center for WA
The One Night Count
Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness
Seattle Gov / Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness
SHARE/WHEEL self-managing, grassroots organization of homeless people
U Utah Phillips


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Studies in Memory | Junanita Bay Park


Our collective set of memories is who we are. Some say it is our only possession. Others call it unreliable. Some think of it as a purse or a sieve or an artist or a politician. Elizabeth Bowen tells us of memory’s charms, “The charm, one might say the genius of memory, is that it is choosy, chancy, and temperamental: it rejects the edifying cathedral and indelibly photographs the small boy outside, chewing a hunk of melon in the dust.”

A K MIMI ALLIN| My Happy Life
VANESSA DEWOLF | over&over-again&again
CHIN HUA CATHERINE DONG | It Is the Way of Being
KARL S. MONROE | Meditating on the Consciousness & Memory of Trees

These local & international artists will be situated throughout Juanita Bay Park (Kirkland, WA) from 1-6PM on Saturday 23 October offering individual studies in memory. There will be opportunities for the public to engage in select studies. Pick up a map & schedule at either entrance to the causeway on the day of the event. Studies are overlapping & continuous. Studies in Everything series curator is A K Mimi Allin. Studies in Everything is supported by 4Culture.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Artists experimenting in movement, performance, process, dance, text, sound, voice, music, visual arts and other media wanted for Studies in Memory, a half-day, outdoor, live art event, 1PM–6PM, on Saturday 23 October in Juanita Bay Park (Kirkland, WA). Select from 15-minute to 5-hour time slots. Engage in a stationary or moving study anywhere in the 110-acre park. Studies overlap and continue for the length of the event. STUDIES IN EVERYTHING is supported in part by 4Culture.

Send an informal e-mail to mimiallin@gmail.com with the following six points: (1) your name, (2) tel # & e-mail contact (3) link to your website if you have one, (4) very brief work history (<100 words), (5) preference for study length: 15-min, 30-min, 1-hour, 2-hour or 5-hours, and (6) one sentence loosely expressing your medium or idea. DEADLINE: 5 OCTOBER 2010.

Studies in Memory is 4th in a quarterly series called STUDIES IN EVERYTHING, preceded by Studies in White (January), Studies in Monk, Mompou and Melancholy (April) and Studies in Forgiveness (July). The goal of STUDIES IN EVERYTHING is to form a temporary community and to have that community study, in a collectively and public way, a topic, mood, color, place or idea. Studies aren’t about finished, choreographed work, they are about the artist’s process. We do not spend a great deal of time preparing for or reporting on studies, but spend time partaking in studies and thus evolve as artists. 10-20 artists participate in each study. Funding helps organize, announce video-document the event. Visit the Facebook Group STUDIES IN EVERYTHING to view past studies.

Memory is the ability to store, retain and recall information and experiences. They say one brain cell is capable of holding a memory. We know that sleep can improve and stress can impair our ability to remember. Our collective set of memories make us who we are. We remember in order to know ourselves.

Artists selected for a study are encouraged to make a site visit & consider weather & the environment when devising a study. It’s not necessary to stay for the entire event, but please do plan to witness the studies on either side of your own so we might witness one another. Note: This is a rain or shine event for which you need to be self-supporting. Bring water, sunscreen, hat, umbrella, jacket, snack food, bus schedules and anything else you need. There are a few inexpensive restaurants within walking distance. Juanita Bay Park is a public place with a fair bit of strolling traffic but, unless you specifically invite people in to witness your study, a large standing audience is unlikely. This is perfectly ok with us since STUDIES IN EVERYTHING is all about the artist’s engagement with the topic at hand. So… “Let the bucket of memory down into the well,/bring it up. Cool, cool minutes. No one/stirring, no plans. Just being there.” From Just Thinking by William Stafford.

Juanita Bay Park is located at 2201 Market Street in Kirkland, WA 98033. There is a day-use parking lot, a restroom, a water fountain, a very long boardwalk with benches over a wetland, a paved path winding through rolling lawns (this area used to be a golf course) and two long finger piers with viewing platforms over the marsh. The area is rife with wildlife. While the adjacent Juanita Beach Park is closed for renovations, Juanita Bay Park is clear and open to the public. Click here for MAP & INFO.


From Downtown Seattle take bus #255 to the corner of 98th & Juanita Park Road or take any bus to Bellevue Transit Center and transfer to bus #234.

From I-405 North, take the NE 116th Street exit (exit 20A) and turn left onto NE 116th Street. Turn left onto 98th Avenue NE, which becomes Market Street. End at 2201 Market Street, Kirkland. From I-405 South, take the NE 124th Street exit (exit 20) and turn right onto NE 124th Street. Turn left onto 100th Avenue NE, which becomes 98th Avenue NE, which becomes Market Street. End at 2201 Market Street, Kirkland.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hermit Seeks Hermitage

Mikhail Nesterov. Hermit. 1889.

Poet seeks bit of fallow land to use (lightly) as a hermitage for one month. Any season. I currently reside in Pacific NW, but am considering offers both nationally and internationally. In the spirit of Basho and the wandering poets of Japan, I’m heading into the hills to practice silence and to write and reflect on life. I own a small sailboat, but currently have no land. Willing to trade poems for land use. Ideally looking for forested, valley or mountain land—high up, far out or down under—however inaccessible. It’s crucial only that it be removed from society. I plan to haul along my handmade, mini, portable yurt (collapses to 6 x 2’ and rides on a bicycle wheel) and a month’s supply of food. I will collect and treat my water and dispose of waste responsibly. I’m a grant-funded conceptual artist and former climbing ranger—respectful, quiet, clean and practiced in leave-no-trace. References available upon request. I’m interested in all serious offers and suggestions. Thank you.

Poet Hermit
617 460 6110

Friday, July 30, 2010


Spaceworks Tacoma
Tollefson Plaza
16-20 August 2010
A K Mimi Allin

The ocean washes its way up to Tollefson Plaza this August for a playful performance set to ocean-side operas. The plaza turns into a beach and the birds sing in opera through a record player. An aging wooden lifeguard chair rises up from the base of the curved pink steps, which are now lined in blue waves. Using costumes, flags, whistles and metal pails, the artist performs to a changing audio of sea-inspired operas and carnival music. 15-minute performances occur daily, on the half hour, for one full week from 2-7pm. The public is encouraged to take a seat and watch the performances or participate in the activities by playing with the water toys around the cascading pools. There will be paper boats, wind-up water toys, water guns and fishing rods. Summer is finally here.