Two years ago today, Carron Little presented Life In Circles, a visual poem which included live performance, prints, paintings, and video footage, on a Livestream on the Twitch channel of Martine Viale. The multimedia nature of this presentation, along with its accessibility to the public, perfectly represent Carron Little as an artist.
Carron Little is a poet, a visual artist, and a performer, as well as an advocate for civic engagement. Carron received her MFA from School of the Art Institution in Chicago, with a focus in Fiber & Material Studies and Digital Video Animation. She also received First-Honors for her BA in Textiles at London University. Carron’s pieces are often based on oral histories which she gathers from different communities, for example, people in their seventies in the Beverly neighborhood in Chicago, or women of all ages in Switzerland. She then incorporates these oral histories into poems and visual art such as painting and sculptures, all culminating in her public performances. She has performed all around the world—from Illinois, Michigan and Oklahoma to Bosnia, Greece, and Scotland (made special because she is of Scottish descent) and beyond.
Carron’s pieces are often based on oral histories which she gathers from different communities.
A co-founder of the public performance series Out of Site, Carron champions her publicly accessible performances, which integrate local history as told by members of a community, as a way to increase civic engagement. From 2012-2013, for example, she completed the Dream Minds project, in which she interviewed one Chicago resident per week for a year about dreams they’d had in exchange for one of her Dream Minds paintings. She then gave them a poem based on the story of their dream. This project then evolved into the City Alive with Dreams project, in which she worked with an eight-person choir to set a selection of these poems to music. She and the choir toured the city, performing these poems set to music. There was also an interactive element, furthering engagement, in which people would tell Carron about their dreams and she would compose a poem for them on the spot.
As an advocate for her local communities, Carron has addressed some of the biggest problems of our time with her art. When the pandemic hit and public performance was no longer possible in the way that it had been, Carron created “Flow • embody in site”, an online symposium that would help artists livestream their performances. Reflecting on the experience with FF2 contributor Katherine Factor, Carron said, “The symposium blew us away; it created an intimate community of practitioners from around the globe.” During the summer of 2021, Carron helped curate a series of performances with Martine Viale, supported by the Chicago Park District, which included Life in Circles. It also included a performance by Helen Lee which included a speech and a dance which addressed the systemic violence Black and Brown people were facing. In her interview with Katherine, Carron emphasized, “From my early experience till now, I have witnessed how public performance practices can switch the trajectory of violence on our city streets to one of peace. But it takes a lot of courage to do it.”
As an advocate for her local communities, Carron has addressed some of the biggest problems of our time with her art.
Carron performs under her persona “The Queen of Luxuria.” In an interview with FF2 Contributor Elisa Shoenberger, she delved into the importance of this character: “The Queen of Luxuria produces performances that respond to the moment we are living in or addresses a particular social concern like the Uptown Trilogy that looked at racial, gender pay equity. In interviewing the public and writing poetry as gifts for the public it’s about attuning very deeply to what is being shared. In creating works for the moment it is about listening very deeply and holding up a mirror with a bit of humorous delight. Every society needs a clown or a fairy to bring joy and sparkle to our everyday lives and the queen of luxuria is definitely striving to channel the fairy spirit!” This perfectly sums up the impact of Carron’s work. Carron certainly channels the fairy spirit, and so much more.
© Julia Lasker (9/5/23) FF2 Media
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Read Katherine Factor’s interview with Carron here.
Read Elisa Shoenberger’s interview with Carron here.
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Portrait images of Carron Little at Marsh Marigold (MI). Photo Credit: Jamie Gannon. © Carron Little & used by FF2 with her permission. All Rights Reserved.