Multiple forms, images, expressions, intentions, and interpretations connect narrators, listeners, and readers throughout the sound recording genre.
I continue to learn from the works of Gloria Anzaldúa. I record, archive sound narratives, and document stories about the people of New Mexico.
Appropriation of culture, language, and land remain antiquated “Custom” tied between territorial notions of resource ownership, political dominion, and ideological control colonialism. A myriad of concepts propose “Entitlement” to those that choose exclusionary rhetoric and geographic legibility systems of involuntary participation –– an attempt to remain clear-and-away from generations of people living, working through, and dying as a result of constant fragmentation, exclusion, and denied human rights.
Slavery, legibility, and gunboat diplomacy of United States’ policies brought this conversation inside to the formation of today’s vast country-state, and with it our shared human drive to catalog memory, experience, and the timelines of literary and journalistic text about the truth. To remember, to engage, to respect appropriated peoples and their land, and “These laws” written by white colonialist justice principles, is to become less isolated, and less ignorant, of geographic and linguistic areas of understanding known from within Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/Las Fronteras.
How can we connect to the present, and never impose sanctions of time, place, and memory upon future generations of internationalized citizens?
In seeking to record perspectives, sounds, and voices from both sides of the borderlands (any prepared boundary or institutional legibility) –– my work hopes to speak for itself through the 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, it became clear how easy the potential that we may forget, mis-remember, or intentionally escape history; to perhaps skip a day of record keeping, a week, possibly much longer, and to be free from the responsibility of transparency, truth, and factual information about history.
Not by chance, learning about the town of Morenci, Arizona connected to my understanding of Americanized industry profiteering, Mexican-American workers’ rights, and the brutality of resource, land, and wartime management of 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. These combinations collected into one basket slowed my anxiety, and heightened my fascination with interviewing, conversation, and communicating during, before, and after the recorded interview process.
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.