Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We talked about collaboration and isolation.

For the second weekend of When Does It or You Begin? Jen Hofer and Patrick Durgin made a book called Tangelo, which they read aloud. Because they made books for all of us, we read along silently. We took the books home with us. It was still cold outside, sometimes ten below zero, but we were warmed by readings, bilingual, multimedia, and operaesque ones, by Jen and Dolores Dorantes, John Keene and Christopher Stackhouse, and Jennifer Karmin with special guests; a performance by Tradeshow; and videos by Temporary Services and Laurie Jo Reynolds.

Because we looked at collective memory, we looked at collaboration, and, as Friday night audience member (and musician/writer/record producer/curator) John Corbett noted in a talkback discussion led by writer and performer Terri Kapsalis, isolation.

On Friday, with collaborator
Amy Partridge and others in the Tamms Year Ten project (including three ex-prisoners of Tamms), Laurie Jo staged a performative lecture about the campaign to protest this supermax correctional facility in southern Illinois. There, men are locked up in solitary confinement. Sometimes they mutilate themselves; sometimes they forget what other people look like up close. John said something like, "This weekend's focus is all about collaboration, which was the very thing you were denied, the ability to work with other people."

During the talkback, the three men who served time at Tamms-- Darryl, Mustafa, and Johnny-- recounted their devastating experiences. The rest of us sat in a line of chairs much longer than last weekend's line, not wanting or needing to speak, just needing to listen. As Jen and Patrick said to the audience, "Anytime you want to talk to us about our collaborative process you can...just not right now."

Above is a photo of Jen and Dolores.


AJF said...

Thanks for this summary, Amina. I'm a recent transplant from LA to Rio so I share some collective memory. Your post allows me to experience participation (even if only in my own head) from here (where there is more internal time for contemplation of such issues). And its a great foto of Jen and Dolores. Are there any papers you can post?

Amina said...

Thank you for reading it! I'm glad participation happened for you in the way it did. Things surely happen right in front of us, or in another kind of right in front. No papers to post in this moment, but we hope to eventually make a book.