Multiple forms, images, expressions, intentions, and interpretations connect to narrators, listeners, and readers throughout the sound recording genre.
I continue to learn the works of Gloria Anzaldúa from a gringo interviewer’s perspective: work to record, and to archive narratives –– and to document stories about United States Mexico borderlands.
Appropriation of culture, language, and land remain antiquated “custom” tied between complicated and territorial notions of resource ownership, political dominion, and ideological control. A myriad of concepts propose entitlements to those that choose exclusionary rhetoric and geographic legibility systems, an attempt to remain clear and away from industrial Mexico Americas, and the generations of people living, working, and dying there each and every day.
Slavery, legibility, and gunboat diplomacy outside the United States brought this conversation inside the formation of the country, and with it our shared human drive to catalog memory, experience, and the timelines of literary and journalistic text. To remember appropriated territory/living-space/lands/peoples and the laws of our own localized justice principle is to become less isolated, and less ignorant, of geographic areas known as Borderlands/Las Fronteras.
How can we connect to the present, and not impose sanctions of time, place, and memory upon future generations of international citizens?
In seeking to record perspectives, sounds, and voices from both sides of the border (any fence or institutional legibility) –– my work hopes to speak for itself through our shared voice of memory, equal access, and reciprocal communication.
By the time I got to Las Cruces, the study of narrative, storytelling, and public history demanded political discourse and, therefore, public record. A few years earlier, seeking journals, ledgers, box-files of company comment on the Ludlow Massacre at the Colorado Fuel & Iron Archives with its then executive director Tim Hawkins, it became clear to me how easy the potential that we may forget, mis-remember, or escape history; to perhaps skip a day, a week, possibly much longer, and to be free from the responsibility of transparency, truth, and good standing factual information.
Not by chance, learning about the town of Morenci, Arizona connected my understanding of the Americanized industry, Mexican-American workers rights, and a brutal history of resource, land, and wartime management in United States’ “territories.” From the Steelworks Center of the West, to the company town construct at benefit of labor intensive corporations, to the causes and struggles of striking peoples’ unions across the county, to New Mexico’s Chino Mine at the former town of Santa Rita del Cobre.
A colleague had advised me to revisit the interviewing and documentation style of Gloria Anzaldúa’s Auto-historias, and, in addition to this perspective, to read Suffer Smoke by Elena Díaz Björkquist . The combinations collected into one basket slowed my anxieties, and heightened my fascination with interviewing, conversation, and communicating during, before, and after the interview.
Díaz Björkquist’s narrative-prose style interprets memory and oral history of family, friends, and generations of community members with Morenci’s only employer. Suffer Smoke shows Díaz Björkquist’s talents, dreams, and personal history; and, in doing so, compliments outsiders for visiting the memories of an entire small town displaced ––literally and figuratively–– by 20th century American mining industry.