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A bout de souffle

2020/21 / Varying edition of 4 / Text in English & French (graphite & carbon pencil) / Archival inkjet printing on Dobbin Mill papers / Embedded mixed media / Wax paper, cotton swab & plastic bag 

Breathless, a text about suffocating relationships, was written for a set of wrinkled skin-like papers that I put it aside because it included the phrase ‘I can’t breathe’ and that felt untouchable after Eric Garner’s murder at the hands of police in Staten Island, 2014.

Then, in April 2020, our pandemic lives gave it new meaning & resonance so I resumed working on the book, writing, erasing & altering the text, completing the copies, May 20, 2020. Or so I thought: with George Floyd’s murder on May 25th, again, that phrase held impossible trauma & burden. On May 29th I wrote & printed the colophon, asking myself “should I erase those words? --Breathing not breathing.”

During this past year since Floyd’s death, I have again re-worked the book with new imagery & words. I am still unsure. The text is presented as a manuscript or meditation, a violation that has been written like tattoos on these skin-like papers.