Words on Resilience
Over a three-month period, from March to May 2022, I collaborated with six Scottish Borders writers and performers, collecting audio recordings of their work around the theme of resilience.
One iteration of the material gathered is a series of multichannel video and sound installations placed inside a virtual gallery hosted by Live Borders.
The sound and audio-visual pieces now form an archive from which a variety of independent publications can be realised alongside radiophonic, installation and exhibition pieces. The full audio piece can be streamed and downloaded from Bandcamp.
My thanks to the writers for their patience, commitment and for teaching me what it means to write:-
Jane Houston Green
The project invited some deep thinking around the subject and challenged the various voices within to land with a voice particularly loud on this occasion. A voice normally loathed or frightened to express itself outwardly, the innermost voice expressing various emotions and opinions and feelings around the subject in hand. It brought about the ongoing conflict of inner resilience as well as outer resilience, how any reaction can always be sifted through layer by layer to reach a point of completion. This can be hard for many of us and it became apparent the words are not always the essence of a piece of writing, is rather what is behind the words which carries the message through with greater impact.
Absolutely more of these projects to encourage self experimentation in writing and the various interpretations from both the reader and the listener. Recording such excerpts to create an audio version is also a unique skill in itself and such opportunities to practice are very welcome for improvement with guidance, without judgement, for anything auditory to be shared beyond the page or the screen.
Receiving the remit of 'Words on Resilience', I was keen to compile a trilogy from my repertoire that looked at the theme from a dialectical perspective - with each poem presenting an optimistic view, then a pessimistic one, then a synthesis of both.
'On my best friend attempting suicide' explored the unique power of resilience in getting us through difficult times so that we may live to see a better day and reap the rewards of perseverance, while 'Sustenance Abuse' shows how a refusal to throw in the towel can elide the realisation that sometimes it's necessary and ultimately better to simply cut our losses. Meanwhile, 'A year is not so long' juxtaposes both themes, acknowledging how important resilience can be while also highlighting its tendency to foster masochistic stubbornness.
It was a pleasure to record with James who is an incredibly astute Sound Artist and really captured the raw energy of my performance.
Working with James and fellow writers was inspiring. A real tonic in terms of the isolation we experienced as artists during lockdown. Everyone has a different story to tell about resilience. We learn and grow from sharing our experiences and skills. A virtual gallery can provide a platform to open both the performer's and spectator's minds.
An extended meditation on resilience, with six writers’ voices which offer different perspectives, various strategies. Implicit in all discussion is the idea that the act of writing is a significant method of coping, even for some, an act of resistance. The various background sounds on this soundscape offer clues to each writer's mood and personality.
For more details, please visit my blog post on the project and look out for updates.
Workspace, Jane Houston-Green