Meet HPI 2018: Faith Wilwerding

Can you talk about your experience with HPI up to this point, reflecting specifically on the time since Fall break?

I think about it as pre-collaboration and post-collaboration. In a way it has been two separate experiences. And pre-fall break it was gathering information, in class and socially, and then post-fall break, I felt like there was a big shift within the group and our desire to get our feet on the ground with collaborations and generating material. Instead of letting the program happen at us, kind of taking control of it. In some ways I feel grateful for that, because I definitely need time to warm up to and feel comfortable in new groups. This gave me enough time to kind of get to know people, and just marinate in the whole situation that I had thrown myself into. As a group I think we have really taken control of our own experience, we’ve taken advantage of the community that we spent that time setting up.

You moved to Philly for HPI, and you say you threw yourself into this program. How has that affected your experience here?

I think it all feels like one, I can’t separate the two, because I didn’t really have a lot of time here before Headlong started so it has all been one indistinguishable experience. Headlong and Philly. Prior to coming to Headlong I was really craving finding new communities and communities that I felt fostered me more as an artist and just as a human and a whole being. So moving here was literally throwing myself into all these new communities that felt like a fresh start for that, and just reinvigorating of myself as a human, and myself as an artist.

Has that felt like it’s happened?

Yes here, in this space and this community I do feel that has happened, but as we near the end of the program I am a little worried about making it a sustainable thing. Once I’m pulled out of this community, what do I do next? How do you continue to insert yourself in productive communities? This is kind of handed to us everyday; here are these people and this community, make the most of it, but once I don’t have that structure, I’m not sure what I’ll do.

In terms of creative work, do you feel that you are carrying ideas with you from before Headlong, or have you been sparked by being in this space with these people?

In the first part of my experience, I was definitely bringing in ideas and fragments of my work from before. It was a lot of solo work on personal and internal experience and memory. But then when we moved more toward collaboration as a group I kind of let my own things go a little, and am latching onto other people and being sparked by sharing ideas, which I’m finding really satisfying. Just in general this community is really teaching me, and my peers are really teaching me so many new things that are inspiring me. It’s just so much more vibrant than communities I’d been in before, so I’m very much enjoying sharing ideas and giving in to letting other collaborators direct me, it’s a really fulfilling process. In this moment, it feels a lot richer than making work from only personal experience.

What are you curious about with that going forward to the end of HPI?

I think I’m just curious about what our final show will look like, because it feels like everything that everyone has been working on is kind of becoming one, like parts of everyone is showing up in every piece and I’m excited to see what that looks like as a cohesive show and collective body of work.

Do you have a fun fact?

I play the electric guitar, I took lessons for six years.  I have two electric guitars at home in Nebraska. I don’t practice nearly as much as I should, but I really love them!

See Faith’s work