This ongoing series (began 2018) is about mediated conversation. Using screen interfaces to communicate occludes complex feelings, because it eliminates subtle signifiers like tone and body language. This distance can help establish and reinforce boundaries; it can also create conflict and feed insecurity by making it easier to project inaccurate feelings and intentions onto others. I’m particularly aware that, in a patriarchal and white supremacist culture, I am complicit as both oppressor and oppressed – most of us are. Visually representing how these complex and subtle power dynamics play out on an intimate, quotidian scale helps me better understand the effects this exerts on my relationships and my sense of self.
William H. Whyte wrote, “The great enemy of communication, we find, is the illusion of it. We have talked enough; but we have not listened. And by not listening we have failed to concede the immense complexity of our society–and thus the great gaps between ourselves and those with whom we seek understanding.” Whyte was discussing communication in the context of early corporate culture, but the sentiment has broad application today.