I Wasn’t Just Saying What You Wanted To Hear…(Constance DeJong, Ellie Krakow, Katherine Behar, Elise Rasmussen & Jaeeun Lee)
As told by Anastacia Renee
We have seen how, in the transition from point to line to plane, a body accrues information and substance and, at the same time, paradoxically, becomes increasingly ill-defined. -Katherine Behar
Dear reader, listen to the conversation the pieces are having with each other--figure out if you are keeping time or if time is keeping you.
When I walk into the gallery space where the pieces are in full conversation with each other, I begin feeling like an outsider. Like the woman who walks over to her crowd of friends late—where she says, “Hi, sorry I’m late,” right at the point where the one friend says something so profound and oh-shit-worthy that the rest of the friends do not see the late newcomer and when they do the “Hi, glad you made it,” is delayed, zombified and in black and white.
My eyes start with Elise Rasmussen’s Checa and what I want to understand is why the stripes feel like they are un-stripe-ing, why I want the woman dancing to freeze frame and why I feel as though I should not look at her dancing. The energy says go away and let me continue to dance upon death but the actual movements are beautiful and calculated. I ask in a half whisper and half awe if there’s a way to capture the way her hand travels down, and syncs up with the lineage stopping in the background. Will I ever wear stripes again I say to myself. Of course, I answerbut not while I dance upon disrespected dead people. Who can know systemic racism or capitalist agenda could be so…long, slender, black and white? Who could know if they are prison, prisoner or priestess?
When I stand close to the door I no longer feel as though I am the late friend and I can not only h(ear) the conversation between the art pieces happening, but I understand the conversation. When I see a screen full of fuchsia and couch I still can’t help but glance at the black and white and I wonder is this how it feels to be a computer in prison (from its own self). Is this what it feels like to have too many connections, too many a-ha moments or URL’s. Big data makes me feel as though it’s right to glance at prison stripes—makes me feel as though it will swallow itself, makes me ask how else can a thing survive? Don’t we all eat the thin walls of ourselves from time to time? Don’t we all buffer, cache and ping (now)?
Somehow between feeling as though I am part cannibal in all the ways I stuff my brain, eat at memories and lick a bit of nostalgia, I realize I am having my own big data experience—not as in system overload, more like overdrive, overwrought with nervous energy or the need/want/desire to see and feel more. I am immediately drawn (in), making myself pay attention the audio and visuals happening simultaneously. I am shocked that I didn’t h(ear) this part of the conversation at first. When Constance DeJong says, “Puns are a dangerous territory,” I think to myself there’s nothing more dangerous than a memory where the hands between real and untrue clasp each other. When I check in with my body I realize I am feeling full, anxious, open and pretty pissed off with the random shit that happens like losing keys or babies or love. I want desperately to head over to the pillows in the corner and watch the video but I am still drawn to those damned stripes, the fascia and the swollen thing feeding upon itself. If big data burped, what would it taste like?
You have to walk through at least twice, dear onlooker. When I first h(ear) the hook ___________________________I want to know what the ___________________is. It is my nature as a writer, Aquarius and woman of color to want to know the _________________long before someone else does. For protection. For inclusion. I am completely mesmerized by the way the colors, lines & blurry pictures translate into innocent child or seasoned adult, how I wanted to understand right away just how close the main character was to her friends. I asked myself right there on those comfortable pillows, What happens if life is a secret to me & I die before I figure it out? Jaeeun Lee made me ponder if the social construct is set up for people of color in a way that makes us feel like nearly everything is a secret to us? Is the idea of magic and the power of animals a secret to me? Am I a secret to myself? Is a secret a secret to itself?
You have to watch & listen to this twice, preferably with your bestie or someone you know sitting next to you. You will get up saying, “It’s a secret to you.” Once I completed the full circle and lots of ear-hustling, I -ha-‘d that this was indeed a dialog…one that I was privy to, parts that made me feel somewhat uncomfortable and parts that made me feel like all things grotesquely beautiful. Perspective is a real, real thing.
http://www.duendeliterary.org/anastacia-tolbert/ alice isn’t excited about going inside the gallery (yet) all her memories sticking to the bottom of her tongue & yesterdays canker sore on the inside of her jaw. what she really wants is to watch the wall (outside). hit the wall. see the wall. alice wants to know about the red lineage, about if everyone has a story to tell about if wolves are closest to their mothers or fathers about if her menstrual cycle could ever be orange not red & about what it might be like to wear an umbilical cord for a belt & when alice does decide to go (inside) the gallery she heads right over to the pillows, to the idea that something is a secret to her & this makes alice cry & also want a cigarette. what if all the fucking things are a secret to her? what if love will never whisper in her ear & only be told from the perspective but her own. what if she becomes a stripe-dancing woman moving beautifully upon her own disrespected grave?
Anastacia Renee' is a queer super-shero of color moonlighting as a writer, performance artist and creative writing workshop facilitator. She has received awards and fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Jack Straw, Ragdale and Artist Trust. She was recently selected as the 2015-16 Writer-in-Residence at Hugo House, a place for writers in Seattle. Her Chapbook 26, published by Dancing Girl Press, is an abbreviated alphabet expression of the lower and uppercase lives of women and girls. Her poetry, & fiction have been published in Literary Orphans, Bitterzoet, Radius Poetry, Seattle Review, Duende, Bone Bouquet, Dressing Room Poetry and many more. Recently Anastacia Renee' has been expanding her creative repertoire into the field of visual art, and has exhibited installations surrounding the body as a polarized place of both the private and political. Lately she’s been obsessed with the body's memory and infatuated by myths, fables & imaginary truths. http://indigoa.wix.com/2015 http://hugohouse.org/get-involved/writers-in-residence/
The Alice has a writer-in-residence program. We invite writers to sit with the work and then respond in any way they would like...their finished pieces are printed and handed out to viewers in the gallery.