I want to talk about who we choose to tell our stories, and what it means to be entrusted with that obligation. I’ve never been on a residency before; I don’t know how to do it. I had to make my own way. I knew for certain the right way would involve as many people as possible.
On the left-hand bulletin board is a set of articles about Eco-Criticism. It’s been a difficult year for me, existentially, and one of the only things that has given me any kind of hope that there’s a point to writing and story-telling is my introduction to eco-critical theory (for which I am deeply indebted to Megan Berkobian and the Detroit arm of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research). The topics explored in these articles, particularly the concept of eco-narrative, represent the background thinking with which I entered residency here, and have informed my approach to undertaking an exploration of and reflection upon Cleveland and its artists. I know it is a story that should not be told by me, but told together.
The right-hand board is a material map that arranges roughly 90% of the printed matter I accumulated over four weeks here. This includes visits to cultural institutions and landmarks, galleries and museums, studio visits and artist networking events, performances, and oddities (I confess to being a Balto fangirl; it was thrilling and weird to get to see his preserved remains at the Museum of Natural History).
In the center is my field study of the artists with whom I performed a formal studio visit. A statement on my methodology is provided as well. This is in no way meant to be a comprehensive look at Cleveland, its creative workers, or its art scene—no more than a single day of birdwatching comprehends an entire ecosystem. These are my observations and snippets from longer conversations, with thematic direction or considerations related to my wider theme of abortion as a creative process.
My time as SPACES has gone quickly, and I have endeavored to be as present and engaged as possible in my surroundings, learn as much as possible, and see the beauty in a new environment. I understand there to be deeper conflict, affection, and truth available to those with a longer view of its history. I’m honored to get to reflect, in some small way, on my time here, and look forward to it as the opening chapter of a longer story, one that we continue to tell together.
Sarah Rose Sharp