Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Presentation At The Mint Museum From This Past Sunday

Words From Other Voices

You arrive somewhere, and you see someone in different dress than your own. A costume from another time, something from the past. And you say to yourself, "Oh, they're pretending to be somebody else." Someone removed from what we know as the present tense. Too easily, the clothes and manners of the past can seem quaint, or removed from our day-to-day understandings of life. However, distance does not dilute the experience of human expression. Whether they are displaying joy, or in mourning, when we slip into another role, we are using someone else's voice to speak for ourselves.

When we take on the story of someone else's life, a part of our own personality speaks through the character. We may never fully know what it was like to step onto a Civil War battlefield, but we are fully aware of the minefields that we all deal with in our own lives. In stepping into another world, we push ourselves closer to something, or someone that interests us. Yet we are also stepping away for the moment from our own battlefields, and giving ourselves the chance to breathe and reflect on what is happening around us. Then, and now.

The wish to communicate through other means has always been with us. We write when we want to communicate, sing when we cannot talk, or pick up a camera when we are unable to articulate what we see happening around us. We can look out over the past, but it also helps us to understand the present. We may be speaking words from other voices, but they do, in so many ways, echo the sounds and visions of our own lives. Now, and in the future and past to come.

photos and text by Daniel Coston

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