blog – the gift of failure

Note : Une version en français de cet article est disponible sur : Français

February 5, 2023

Hi there,

I re-read the gift of failure document this week on the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures website. I recommend it.

In particular, I took to heart how the article begins:

We chose the word “gesture” for the title of our collective to underscore the fact that decolonization is impossible when our livelihoods are underwritten by colonial violence and unsustainability. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, our health systems and social security, and the technologies that allow us to write about this are all subsidized by expropriation, dispossession, destitution, genocides and ecocides. There is no way around it: we cannot bypass it, the only way is through. …

How we fail is important. It is actually in the moments when we fail that the deepest learning becomes possible and that is usually where we stumble upon something unexpected and extremely useful. Failing generatively requires both intellectual and relational rigour.

Like falling off a bike and getting back up again? 

What did I learn since my last blog? For example, I wrote in the January 29, 2023 conscient newsletter : 

One of my learnings from this project is letting go of expectations and the need for validation. Rather, without pretence and with humility, it is better to present one’s artwork as an offering and through this creative work, to deepen connections and relations.

I also learned to be (more) patient this week. 

A good friend told me that my podcast does not take 5 minutes in one’s life, it requires much more: time to prepare, absorb and reflect on the content and even more time and energy to respond. This friend mentioned that we are already over solicited and our attention is precious. They said, ‘I don’t have the headspace’…

Message received and thank you.

about e104 time 

  1. From Flora Gomez (Toronto)

I really appreciated the train sound and the invitation to reflect on what it means to be a small moment in a much larger space. A lot to unpack there in such a very subtle proposal.  

My response:

Yours is the first comment on this episode, which so far, is closest to what I originally intended with this project, e.g. a field recording that sounds and feels like modernity (train passing), followed by moment of transition (revealing an urban space after the train passes) and concluding with a point of arrival (mountain forest) accompanied by the wise words of France Trépanier. Thanks for your feedback and for the opportunity to ‘unpack’ this episode. 

2. From Peter Hatch (Saltspring Island BC):

Congrats on your new initiative – I liked e104 especially I tried e105 as audio only first – it was much more intriguing with video added, for me. I love your use of ‘incidental text’ (or none) in these, and their brevity. (Who can’t afford 5’?)

Peter goes on to add my first audiovisual response to an episode: 

A couple of weeks ago I made a train recording that I was happy with (using Rode Go II mics) in Bellingham. Related to your topic, it seemed a nice metaphor for our western (linear) view of time.  Fittingly, it was a coal train. Here it is if you’re interested:

Peter also adds that e104 time reminded him of a passage (important to him) from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass

Time as objective reality has never made much sense to me. It’s what happens that matters. How can minutes and years, devices of our own creation, mean the same thing to gnats and to cedars? Two hundred years is young for the trees whose tops this morning are hung with mist. It’s an eyeblink of time for the river and nothing at all for the rocks. The rocks and the river and these very same trees are likely to be here in another two hundred years, if we take good care. As for me, and that chipmunk, and the cloud of gnats milling in a shaft of sunlight—we will have moved on.

Thanks for setting the pace on creative responses, Peter!

about e105 rope

  1. From Kelly Langgard and Lychee (Toronto)

I listened to this with my 12 year old daughter. In the beginning, we felt the sound inside our bodies and then like we were in a cavern under the ocean and finally emerging above ground at the end, with the sound of the wind and people talking.

My response: 

Thanks for your response! I’m glad you had such an interesting journey with these sounds and silences. I can relate to feeling inside the sound, caved in and finally emerging into the air! My intention wiht e105 rope was to have a series of ‘spaced out’ versions of the rope followed by the real sound which provides a contrast but also an opportunity to reflect upon what the creaking feels like, including a sensation of relief.

2. From France Trépanier (Sonora Desert, USA)

This morning I listened to episode 105 ‘rope’ of the conscient podcast. I listened to it while walking in the Sonora Desert and looking at the impressive San Jacinto Mountains. I felt the tension of the rope with the movement of the water. I also felt the immense tension that the mountain created, pushing a large layer of land upwards. Then the silences… like the silences of the mountain that occupy a completely different temporal reality and which, in this moment, cultivates immobility in its meditative state. In short, a very inspiring episode! Thank you.’ 

My response:

Glad to read about your experience with é105. é105 is open to all interpretations. By the way, it reminds me of… e104 time, where you said:

‘with hindsight, we will realize that this was a very small moment in a much larger space, and that we are returning to very deep knowledge.’ 

Thank you for this reminder that there are much larger spaces and silences whose temporal reality eludes us. 





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