Offbeat: Earlid - Under the Skin

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Erasure is violence. Ever, always, being justified: “The director said she made the changes so as ‘not [to] show them.'”

Sun Yung Shin is the voice in the piece. She is a writer and educator living in Minneapolis where she co-directs the community organization Poetry Asylum with poet Su Hwang. When The Beguiled was released in 2017, she was part of a conversation about the whitewashing of its narrative and the violence of erasure that is justified everyday.

The 1966 novel had a black female slave as a supporting character, whom director Sofia Coppola removed from the film; and for a biracial character from the novel, she cast white actress Kirsten Dunst.

This piece was originally produced for Earlid as part of their 2018 Liminal Sounds exhibit Skin Rubbed Smooth.

Tape Extracts:

Garrett Tiedemann: Forever there…

Sun Yung Shin: What is complicated about it?

Archive Tape Adult Man: Let’s see if we can explain it. [Fact of communicating] You an I have a coat of armor that protects our bodies from the outside world. It’s our skin.

Archive Tape Young Girl: Who is it?

Archive Tape Adult Man 2: Tissue.

Archive Tape Adult Man: But, did you know that you really have two skins.

Sun Yung Shin: Probably in this…moment. The hatred of women is surging. Certainly the discourse of misogyny seems really prevalent with our new administration unleashing and giving people permission.

Archive Tape Young Girl: What?

Archive Tape Adult Man 2: Is one of the most deadly and elusive enemies ever faced by man.

Archive Tape Adult Man: Body juices flow and withdrawn into the head. Never to be seen or used again.

Sun Yung Shin: So I think, you know, Sofia Coppola is at the intersection of all these things that people are interested in. You know, the Coppola cinematic inheretance. Here being a young, wealthy, beautiful woman. Her making films that have been reasonably successful that have women protagonists. And then this film, at a time when we are increasingly or maybe the same as ever divided on whether racism exists or is morally right; for her to take on this civil war, post-civil war film and people it only with white women, make them what’s interesting in their sexual intrigues and competition and whatever else is cooking in this film. But, erasing black women’s bodies, erasing black labor, erasing the cause of the war, erasing what enabled these white women to live as white women - keep their dresses clean and all that - does seem appalling to me, it’s really truly appalling to me and I got very upset about it.

Archive Tape Young Boy: Alright!

Last Thursday (in Fragments) - "It started with a drawing"

The curtain rises on "[a] late evening in the future." Lit by the white light above a desk. Black-and-white imagery continues throughout. On the desk are a tape-recorder and a number of tins containing reels of recorded tape. A man consults a ledger. The tape he is looking to review is the fifth tape in Box 3. He reads aloud from the ledger but it is obvious that words alone are not jogging his memory.

Tape Exctracts:

Heather McIntosh: Kind of moved to Athens because of the music there. I love R.E.M. and Pylon and the B-52s. Playing in bands I was really fortunate to come into a crew of people that were like minded and making interesting things. You know, sort of experimenting in their own ways. Sort of, generation after,  the generation after those R.E.M., Pylon sort of bands. 

Don Chambers: It started with a drawing. Yeah, it started with A drawing. I really love the Beckett play Krapp's Last Tape

I had always wanted to do this soloish show, built around that play idea.

I just had, I have a drawing of a table, sitting on an empty stage, with one bare light bulb above it and a chair and some recording equipment on the table. And then maybe, you know, you bring in a guitar or something, but that was kind of how I imagined. 

I want to be free to go in a lot of different spaces artistically and emotionally - you know, from a ballad to a dirge to a rocker within one space. That was the impetus of vaudeville, but THIS was kind of taking the vaudeville idea of doing something, a variety show, minus the slapstick humor. I kind of thought it is somewhere between vaudeville theater and Dada theater of the absurd, you know. And also a little bit of just like a living room show that's really intimate like the Victorian parlor shows where so-and-so would read a poem and then so-and-so would play us a song and then here's my flower arrangement that I did last week and now we're gonna eat some food. I like that eclecticism and that's more of what it turned into. I think. Bringing in other people and bringing in other friends to play and do...I mean, there was all kinds of different things that went on over the course of the year. There was some comedy. There was, you know, a murder mystery theme night. It kind of bounced all over, all over the place.

Garrett Tiedemann: So each month, I mean I know like one of the things you and John shared with me you were the posters, so was each month sort of driven narratively by an idea like the idea that within this performance and within this telling is a narrative to break out if you want it to?

Don: Not a straight, it's very thematic, but not a narrative. But I was, it would be... 

Garrett: You are presenting something or presenting a series of ideas that are cohesive within the moment. 

Don: Yes. Yeah. 

Everything, the magic the...I did some films as well and all of that for each month had to be. It all had. The ship had to be pointing in the same direction narratively.

It definitely shifted around and I don't know that I can step away, step back from it far enough to see if there was an overall tone to the thing that it created itself. There was also a hell of a lot of crazy mistakes that became...First, liked the first three months were just hell of everything that could go wrong did go wrong. 

Offbeat: What is Alpha 1?

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What is Alpha-1? was originally produced in the Spring of 2015 for the Third Coast International Audio Festival ShortDocs Challenge. The story was trying to provide a small glimpse at the personal experience of the disease, which is still widely unknown to the masses. It is being released via The White Whale in prep for a collaborative episode with the podcast ARRVLS that will go further in depth with the experience of living with the genetics. Look for the ARRVLS episode next week.

Find the original post in the Third Coast library: http://www.thirdcoastfestival.org/library/1711-what-is-alpha-1

Aplha-1 is a genetic condition passed from parents to their children that may result in serious lung disease in adults and/or liver disease at any age.

For more information visit: http://www.alpha1.org/