“sonder: n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” –The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
Your life is an intricate creation of chance. Every moment brings something new, whether an opportunity or simply a breath. The layers upon layers of complexity that make up your daily existence create an ever more interwoven tapestry. It is easy–so easy–to become caught up in one’s own tangles making it impossible to see that yours is but one of the billions of equally complex lives. Throughout human history, we have sought out these stories in order to better understand our own experiences. Glancing at the intricacies of others allows us to view our own through a new lens. Every person you pass on the street is steeped in a rich history of their own, separate and yet somehow connected.
Hermione Spriggs is a London-based artist. Her work bridges the worlds of art and anthropology. Currently, she is working on a curatorial project for University College London. Spriggs facilitates an exchange between five researchers studying the Mongolian economy, taking their anthropological research and translating it to artists who will use the information in new work. Spriggs herself spent time on the Mongolian Steppe learning to work with an Uurga–or Mongolian Lasso–a long staff used to reign in horses. Much of Spriggs’ work revolves around a self-described obsessive focus on a single object as in the case of the Uurga. For this project, she attached cameras to the Uurga itself recording the experience of the object. Spriggs spent her time in Mongolia fully immersed in the community and culture of the Steppe. Spriggs considers herself an “object-centered” researcher.
Sarah Schulman has two recent books, The Cosmopolitans, a novel about 1950s New York, and a work of nonfiction titled Conflict is Not Abuse. Her upcoming book reads like a detective novel but is based on her experience teaching on Staten Island where many students came from law enforcement families or were themselves planning to go into law enforcement. The book takes an accessible approach to a very difficult topic, namely the perspective of the law enforcement community during turbulent times. Schulman’s conversations with students, colleagues, and others have revealed to her that often people are unable to see their individual role within the societal structure. She sheds light on a complex issue that often impacts the local, state, and national political environments.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket
Do not allow your own complexities to obscure the rich and brilliant lives of those around you. Learn from others’ experience and offer up your own.
Additional interviews include Deborah Kennedy
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Sarah Schulman’s upcoming novel Maggie Terry is due out in the fall of 2018. Hermione Spriggs has been reading A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter.
Opportunities / Open Calls
Think!Chinatown in collaboration with Chashama is currently accepting exhibition proposals. Artists must submit 3-5 images plus a CV for consideration. There are two deadlines for submissions, September 14 and December 4. There is a $5 processing fee for all artists wishing to be considered.
Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.