I have never been able to bear the silence. Of a family history forgotten, of a cultural history erased, of the aftermath of a rude, crass gesture that echoes a millennia of rude, crass gestures against gendered and racialized bodies, eyes averted and heads bowed. That silence.
I have never been able to bear the silence, but I can’t say my voice has done much good, either. Telling my father to stop treating my mother like that when I was six, getting detention for kneeing that kid in the groin when he tried and tried to kiss me when I was 12, standing up in a classroom and saying, over and over, “that’s racist” when I was 15, 16, 17, 28. What’s changed, really?
How much space can a voice take up? What kind of change does that space allow? And what does it mean for a person who has always been told to take up less space to be given a white cube and told, “do what you want. we trust you.”
Is this what sculpture is? The potential for a body that has always contorted to fit into a system that was never made in its image set, in some small way, free? Free to claim space, free to fill a room with her voice – not just in reaction against an injustice – but in proactive creation of a new kind of narrative that sits beyond injustice, dreams beyond oppression, allows itself the audacity to wonder, “what if?”
Free to create, from discarded wood and fiber for which no one could imagine any further possibility, structures and shelters and antenna that attempt, in their own way, to transmit through the silence, fill the void with their longing, and be placeholders for my body – telling the world that, we, too, did live?
The structures that I create embrace their precarity, their futility, their failure to answer questions or undo wrongdoings. They sit in their honesty, their inability, and yet they never stop straining upwards, their appendages yearning and moving towards some future that even I cannot truly see.
Embedded with small screens and crackling audio, they seem to breath, the flickering images and messages hidden within them revealing, through small gaps and enclosures, a narrative that is never fully revealed, only hinted.
They ask you to fill the blanks with your own dreaming, each blurred screen and darkened space a vessel to place a personal silence that only you bear, alone.