I've been grappling with space and where exactly to write. Where can I escape the temptation to grip each moment of the news cycle? Where can I find reverberations of others' pens, thoughts, foot fall who have gone before me and go around me into this space of searching for and making work?
As some of you know, I'm working on a new release. This piece examines the shock of being an American in the US and also in the world. I've locked myself in a cabin overnight, brooded on airplanes, gazed into Skype, and now I'm breathing the word-filled air of New York Public Library.
I became ravenous a few months ago, heading up to an old Mennonite campground at the foot of a small mountain in rural Virginia. The hunger ripping through me was to understand the roots of this space that is white America and how it became as solidly convicted about its place as controller in society. With gratitude, I took with me a chapter from The Invention of the White Race, sent by a dear friend and collaborator Sholeh Asgary.
Admittedly, when I returned to the US from Northern Ireland a few years ago, I wasn't prepared for what I saw, what I met. I was gutted by the apathy of most white people over what was happening in Ferguson. I couldn't understand the divide, having grown up in a mostly white community in Virginia before spending 13 years in Northern Ireland. I certainly found my education there and when I moved to California in 2014, I could see reflections of division and historic segregation, income differences, etc, and a standard held up that wasn't at all relevant to society.
The new project that I'm releasing in conjunction with 4 other artists is the piece of work with which I have struggled the most to date. Recording began in December 2016 in Tiny Telephone in Oakland, California. We're at the point of mixing right now and I'm meeting with collaborators and producing material for the upcoming multi media, multi artist release.
So I find myself needing the right places, haunted by history, in order to write the text for the book that we're releasing. I'm not sure how else to fill up the pages of a piece that is both personal and public. In any case, I'm grateful for that space. And I'm looking forward to sharing this work with you and to say more about it in coming months.
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