Date of Submission

Fall 2023

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Matt Sargent

Project Advisor 2

Sarah Hennies

Abstract/Artist's Statement

  1. Why look at the past?

There are many untold stories and events that are left forgotten in the past. One of the hardest realizations that I ever had was how limited our knowledge is of how different people experienced our world, and how their stories would differ from the ones we were told. We do all we can to look at the past and see what else can be found, what can be discovered or unearthed. What else is there to be found?

As an immigrant who came to this country in my late teenage years, I spent a lot of time thinking about the past, my memories, and my homeland. However, I did not want to make my project about my homeland, or simply about my life moving into another country. Instead, I wish to honor the lands where I currently live, the lands that I have personally developed a close relationship with. We are standing on the ancestral lands of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Tribe, a society who has been displaced, their stories forever changed. Forced removal has extinguished the connections and experiences ancient people had with the land, and we do all we can to find them.

Sound can be a powerful tool to register and look into the past and present. For this reason, I have used my aural knowledge to experience my present reality and physicality, in hopes to find traces of the past. I have registered my process by creating field recordings and editing them using my creative output. I look to the past to find what is yet to be experienced, and I live my present to see what has been lost.

  1. Juxtaposing past and present

Take a moment to really think of a place and time you might be familiar with and think about its current state now. How has your experience changed? How have people around you changed? The present is constantly walking away from the past, and slowly moving towards the future. Is there a world where both past and present can live together in the same place and time? I ask listeners to engage with both the sound and video pieces as moments of past and present living together. What can be found in those spaces? And how can we relate them to the land which Bard occupies?

White colonial settlers have conquered the land, organized its resources and materials for capital gain, and created systems of oppression which can be seen in our current society. Their corrupt systems and superior mentalities have destroyed the natural world in Turtle island, and the world as a whole. In a world where past and present are one, we can bring indigenous realities and cosmologies to a place where the western world can be deconstructed. Our civilization and creations would be but a shadow of the present.

I draw a lot of my inspiration from archeological and anthropological perspectives on indigenous spirituality and experience. In particular the works of Rober Hall, who is a Mohican descendant and archeologist, that challenged many norms and created new ways to look at archeology and indigenous studies. In his chapter titled “Archeology in my soul” from the book “Being and becoming indigenous archeologists”, He talks about his life experiences as an archeologist, and the many challenges that he faced from people denying indigenous realities of the past. In his life experience working as an archeologist and in various related fields throughout the years, I find that it is very sad how much information and interpretation is lost from indigenous perspectives on historic accounts and archeological findings that are never published and/or shown to the public. Robert experienced this himself on several occasions while working at the illinois state museum, where he was denied multiple exhibition projects that would have shown beautiful scenes of “Algonquian Lore”, and saddening, yet fundamental scenes that would depict displacement from a generational standpoint of Native people passing through both the Cherokee “Trail of Tears” and the Potawatomi “Trail of Death” across Illinois. Exhibition projects denied on accounts of “Fantasy” and local statehood (something that never existed before colonization). It is truly a loss, to see people in higher positions of power deny the voices of people whose ancestry and experience represents the living source of what we know little about. Their interpretations, findings, and what they have to share to the world bring a much more meaningful value to the field, because their journey and field work in a way, represents a self discovery about who they are and who their ancestors were and their stories. Archaeologist's like Robert who have such a strong connection with their heritage, feel the frustration of personal work and interpretation that many western scientists, historians, archeologists, and settlers deny.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

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