On View: Sharon Hayes, Sarah H. Gordon’s Strike Journal, May 1970, 2012. 2 double-LP record sets; silkscreened album cover and turntables, 75 minutes, edition of 5 + 4 AP
During Hayes’ research in teh archives of Smith College (in Massachusetts), she encountered a journal written by Sarah Gordon: a young students’s reflection on her experience of a 1970 student strike protesting the Vietname War, racism, and the May 4, 1970 National Guard killings at Kent State University. Hayes approached Gordon, now a scholar of American history and professor at Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University, who agreed to record a reading of her journal. This led to a set of LPs designed and pressed by Hayes, which can be played by exhibition visitors.
Gordon’s journal chronicles the mundane details of organizing the strike, as well as the questions she had in committing to a collective political position. These aspects are often overlooked in historical accounts of the 1970 student movement, which are clouded by nostalgia for the activism of the period. Gordon’s voice registers the lengthy gap separating her 1970 journal and her 2012 reading, complicating the transmission of an “authentic” witness to history. Gordon’s “re-speaking” of her journal elaborates Hayes’ interest in embodied speech, the tensions between the personal and the political, and the role of the university and a community of peers play in shaping one’s identity.
Check out this piece in Sharon Hayes: Loudspeakers and Other Forms of Listening, on now until April 27th.
Image: Sharon Hayes (in collaboration with Sarah Gordon), Sarah H. Gordon’s Strike Journal, May 1970 (2012). 2 double-LP record sets; silkscreened album cover and turntables, 75 minutes, edition of 5 + 4 AP and Andrea Geyer and Sharon Hayes, Space-Set/Set-Space (2012/2014). Plywood, lumber, MDF, hardware, carpet, and paint. Courtesy of the artists and Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin. Photograph by Rémi Thériault.