Jeff Keene reviews Yedda Morrison

The first reaction to Yedda Morrison’s BathHouse reading that took place today comes from Jeff Keene:

A lone candle sat alone on the stage across from Yedda Morrison. Piercing the darkness, her words, the candle spoke to me in her soft relaxed, almost soothing, tone. “I am burning like fire, I am burning right now”, she read calmly, in all black. I was immediately intrigued by her presence, as the backdrop, her visions of Yosemite’s wilderness sat skewed, disembodied, behind her. I began to make connections with her words and the image, all pertaining to wilderness, colonialism, life in nature, and the proletariat’s survival.

“Great green blood of the world”, she said to provoke the importance of plant-life to our ever-changing world and herself. The beauty she invited us all to see in her art work of integral extinct plants, she has made forever permanent with artificialness, though still very full of color, still very much alive, intertwined, in presentation, in existence. I feel she was attempting to say, colonialism is what has taken our wilderness’s purity from us right before our eyes, at our own hands. “Get your conscious on fallen leaves”, she said to show the apathy most humans have come to bear living in an age of fiscal prominence and unlimited technology. People are looking for gadgets to fill voids in their lives instead of looking to nature to find themselves and thrive. When in reality, nature is where all the peace lives, while most technology is only an offspring of smart, but selfish men.

Having done many erasures before, I really enjoyed hearing about her process in making “Darkness” out of Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”. The clean white strokes covering the words looked visually clean, appealing, as words shined bright through the white from dull yellowing pages. I’ve never thought of using Photoshop to white out text before, but am certainly going to try it with this new-found inspiration she has given me. ¬†Also, the reading of it, with multiple voices coexisting, really helped me feel the work as whole more because while reading it to myself it seemed too repetitive and mundane. It actually reminded of Rodrigo Toscano’s “Collapsable Poetics”, once all the voices started to coincide with one another. All in all, I really liked her performance and agree with her completely-Wilderness, as we know it, has lost its purity and it’s the artist’s job to restore and permeate it.