transcription as a devotional practice
Part of what makes humans successful as a species is how we seek out patterns and create stories to make sense of them. These entwined processes help us understand how to navigate the world in which we find ourselves. Understanding this need for meaning-making as embedded in the intersections of history, family, and culture begins to explain why our perceptions as individuals or groups can be so different and at odds. If we pay attention to larger patterns, this understanding offers possibilities for imagining beyond the cultural traps we find ourselves caught in.
My practice is a personal one, my instinctive way of taking notes for re-story-ing our shared reality. I create ephemeral work, transforming everyday office and school supplies into conduits for meaningful contemplation by centering texts that have reshaped my understanding of the world and my place in it. By methodically transcribing the well-crafted words of storytellers whose worldviews resonate with my own, I transmute their meanings through my body, elevating and infusing them into temporarily sacred objects. This practice and its artefacts help me to remember what makes sense to me while navigating a world that often doesn’t. The work I make is meant to be handled and examined, taken apart, reassembled, contemplated, and returned to, and is one of a kind. I don’t make these pieces to sell or put in a gallery, but occasionally they emerge as a potential bridge to a conversation.
My thesis year coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic; the importance of virtual communication and documentation during this time cannot be overstated. While a website can’t replace the experience of physically touching, interacting with, and manipulating the work, it is quite useful for making it accessible to more people over an indefinite time period. As I made choices to display these pieces virtually as simply and interactively as possible, the website itself became integral to my thesis work as a whole. Where I had originally imagined a physical library of the books included in a viewing, I have been able to embed external multimedia links for viewers to research further into these writers and thinkers. My hope is that the way I’ve engaged with these words aesthetically will allow a cumulative meaning to emerge across and among the voices included, whose work has profoundly influenced my personal evolution.