follow up: In Conversation with Leslie Hewitt

Last week, I was lucky to sit down at the SculptureCenter with Leslie Hewitt for a conversation about...well, we didn't decide ahead of time what our conversation would cover.

pre-conversation

pre-conversation

Instead, we chose a series of images—each responding to images chosen by the other—and spoke through these of diptychs which contained their own conversation. What emerged was uncanny, thought-provoking, touching, and a great deal of fun. 

I believe the video of our conversation will be available at some near point in the future, and so I'll leave reflection on the actual content of the evening for another time. Instead—while there were many specific (and interesting in their own right) topics covered, comparisons made, and questions raised—one observation in particular keeps resonating. Leslie has noted before that generational similarities are instrumental and important in her collaborations—with Bradford Young, for example, with whom many of the works in in her show Collective Stance were created. And while the images we chose were very different (in content and in format), they spoke to (and allowed us to speak to) the same concerns, the same contexts in which we've developed our thinking, and the same collection of received ideas, received cultural memories and legacies, received understandings of representation, received structural conditions, and received experience of space(s).

post-conversation (photo: Leslie Hewitt)

post-conversation (photo: Leslie Hewitt)

I suppose this is more than a matter of age, but rather a product of age. The earlier decades of Becoming Ourselves need to focus our attention on the processes of identity-construction that distinguish us from our peers. Of course, during that time we simply aren't equipped to see how Becoming Ourselves at the same time forges similarities and generational peer-ings. This is all perhaps a long-winded way of pointing out one truly great, humbling, and fascinating part of getting just a bit older: that another community emerges—one that was created for me by chronology, one that allows me to delight in remembering that we're not so special after all, and one ties us to a world of people who see the world similarly because of the nontrivial distinction between what was given to us and what we participated in making. Specific cultural contexts and individual identity-based experiences will never cease to inform our place (perceived, imposed, or otherwise) in the world. That said, I imagine that as globalization increases and "global culture" continues to proliferate, this generational identification might only become more applicable to future generations and might become a bridge across those contexts and identities.