Student Brad Wozniak reacts to Yedda Morrison’s recent BathHouse reading:
On December 1, 2009, in the auditorium of Eastern Michigan’s Student Center, Yedda Morrison spoke acutely of the relationship between the real and the artificial. From her perspective, Yedda Morrison assembles the culture of our world as one that is attuned less and less to the tangible and more and more to the recreation thereof. Reproduction is keen in Morrison’s work. Seeing things in an altered state from their natural existence is a tactic Yedda uses in order to evoke some sort of compilation of emotional results from the mass culture. Her rendering of the Yesemite rock for instance, is a deconstructed piece of multiple photographs. It strips away the mere replica-forming duty of the common photograph. It seeks to disorient the view of a physical place that seems to now exist more fully on photo paper than it does in its geographic location.
Her text experiments as well are evident of similar techniques designed for the removal of civilization, of colonization. With her source text of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, she removes all words that fail to describe the natural. Morrison explained that there were constraints that she had to follow in this project that prevented her from keeping certain words. Interestingly, she commented that some words she both removed and kept in, depending on its contract with other words on any one particular page. This proves the difficulty of her project, for if Yedda herself is in fact a product of colonialism, a piece of civilization—her choice to both use and not use certain words, arguably goes against the idea of being held to a constraint. However, this might also be considered beauty in paradox. Regardless of the constraint, the logic behind human categorization is inevitably a product of colonialism and our civilization. Therefore, to strip away all but the natural in both text and image is a task that is assuredly difficult, yet equally interesting. The beauty in these erasures, as Yedda said, is that everyone who did the same project would come up with a different result.
It just might be this idea of multiplicity that appears in Morrison’s work most often. Though we are only given her individual interpretation of these ideas, it also asks us as readers and viewers of her work to realize that if we too were to attempt the same task we would yield a new result. Here is where Yedda’s work is most remarkable; its ability to never be pinned down to one thought. This is not only a great accomplishment for her as an artist, but is essential to exist in the community that both under- and over-estimates the impact of colonialism.