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What do reddit users, birds, and ghosts have in common? They all tell stories.
The work I do is a translational practice as much a creative one, just like stories themselves. At different stages of my practice I have been taken with stories as they appear in writing and speech, and in other-than-human modes, like song or wind or the sound of breathing. The act of listening, though honed to the specificity of media, is also a needle and thread that can puncture and repair, making and remaking boundaries as it goes. In this sense we can listen to writing, just as we can listen to memory; we listen for the stories wherever they come from.
Listening with care and attention is an art of making boundaries otherwise. Of course, there are some boundaries that aren’t meant to be punctured (even if matter is so often already porous and filled with holes, parading as things we think about as objects, containers, enclosures). Listening closely, with needle and thread, is not an isolated gesture, then—it is a responsibility. What do I stitch together? Who do I tie together? How do I weave together? Many who come before me, not just the relations I claim but the extensive sets of relations that care for the land I breathe, cry, fuck, grow, and play on, have already posed these questions, thought about them, worked them through. And still they’re there (because they’re good questions). Boundaries are critical for anything to be learned when listening.
Listening is situated and embodied. I like to ground my practice in acts of listening because it reminds me that I have a body and it is only with my body that knowledge and practice can come together in meaningful ways. The things I make are not just things that tell stories (something I share with many other makers and thinkers) but exercises in and invitations to listen differently, referencing my own ways of being in the world as a listener, which are always in the process of being adjusted and tuned.
The work I do is translational because it is referential; it relies deeply on all the beings and things that tell me stories, and it relies on my practice and ability, which are never consistent, of being a good listener. (But the person who wrote this text wants you to know that I am a really, really good listener.)
Lately, here are some of the things that I have been listening to:
I asked Lindsay Leblanc, my dear friend, longtime collaborator and esteemed colleague to write this text. Thank you Lindsay. ︎