During my childhood in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, my family relocated to Mexico City. Thrust into a new culture and unable to communicate in Spanish, I learned the importance of familiarity in names–for people, places, and emotions. I devoured any books in English I got my hands on and explored outdoor surroundings. As an adult, the concepts of linguistic connection and fitting in continue to motivate me. I strive to grasp the implications of myself in relation to the space and relationships around me.
My soundwalk explores self-identification within the Arboretum. Drawn to the river, for water has always called to me, the writing on the bridge enveloped my thoughts. I found the marks of people who felt strongly enough to leave their handwriting on walls. Some were incomprehensible scrawls while others loudly declared “PEACE.” The graffiti that other wanderers left behind provoked me to think of outdoor spaces as malleable and uniquely personal. This bridge exemplifies the idea that places remain intimate regardless of language and interaction with society.
In my own childhood hideout beneath a large Picea glauca, or white spruce, in the front lawn of my family’s home in Michigan, I brushed away the discarded needles to create a softer, friendlier space to play. Of course my actions did not permanently change that environment, but with this gesture, I claimed ownership of a world where little else can be controlled, much less fully understood.