Ty Defoe: Adventures in Arkansas
Dr. Carra Martinez and Justin Favela (my hosts) engaged me ahead of time to ask: What would you like to do when you are in Springdale, Arkansas, if you could do anything you wanted?
As a freelance independent artist and cultural worker, this was a question I was never asked before. They were asking me to imagine a world for myself to be in.
Springdale Residency with LIVE IN AMERICA
My time at the Springdale Residency was a magnificent one. I went in the late fall of 2022. The frost was in the air and a holiday gathering was around the corner.
Live in America Springdale artist residency was by far one of the most engaging places I have spent my time. It was mostly due to the community of individuals gathered to make me feel like I was at home. Dr. Carra Martinez and Justin Favela (my hosts) engaged me ahead of time to ask: What would you like to do when you are in Springdale, Arkansas, if you could do anything you wanted?
As a freelance independent artist and cultural worker, this was a question I was never asked before. They were asking me to imagine a world for myself to be in. Immediately, I knew what I needed which was creating radical forms of rest and to form reciprocal relations. I know it was important to create ways of radical being with myself and the community. (When I use the term community, I am referring to the multiplicity of ways people gather. Around food, around stones, around trees, around dialogues across cultures, and art making practices).
I made so much art that it influenced how I am making art now. I was able to work on some dance pieces and forms of flow, writing on scripts, and soundscaping. I was really inspired by the mushrooms and am working on a more extensive video art piece.
Some questions I wrote down as I was spending my time in Arkansas.
What is the journey to the land?
I went foraging for mushrooms and found a puffball, turkey tails, and others. As an indigenous identified individual, it was important to visit the land. What can be made walking along her trails? I took at the edge of a rock and looked at the waterfall pouring down. I could understand those stories in the rock. I stood for 30 minutes breathing. Taking the lines of the rock and the way the bark of the roots made shape between my eye line and the next rooted being.
Does embodiment of place change within my own bones?
I was able to use the local dance studios at the Jones Center. I wandered into a center invited in by an older couple who were attending a line dance class. I was very shy being a northerner, not fully understanding what line dancing was in the south. I decided to try to understand the way the wind moves in the rhythms of the class. The circles made with each tap of the heel, toe, and the kind falls to the floor after the synchronicity of each step.
How to continue to indigenize and give back?
I also hosted a ZINE MAKING Workshop at The Medium. I called it REST AS RESISTANCE. I was able to give something to the community by engaging with others with materials. It was a way of connecting to one another. We laughed and made it work. We spoke about cultural appropriation and ways that art can be a medium to engage in ways of inclusivity.
A list of places visited:
- The MEDIUM, Art Opening
- Acupuncture for resting as a form of resistance
- Visited local ceramics studio for inspiration and artists cross dialog
- Tour Justin Flava’s Art Studio
- Welcoming Dinner at the residence
- Dinner Gathering with local artists, at the residence
- Visited a Theater in Fayetteville
- Tour Crystal Bridges Art Museum
- Walked Downtown Springdale
- Visited the crystal and gem shop of Springdale daily as part of ritual
- Sifted through the Pawn shop to look for a knife for hike
- Goodwill for Book gathering
- Salvation Army for Zine materials
- Taqueria Gyanajuanto
- Susan’s (a local food location for cultural anthropology)
- Jones Center
- Boxing Match at the local sport arena
- Christmas Party at Tony’s (local queer individuals)
- Dragula watch party