Artist Kathryn Eddy was supposed to be the Matron of Honor in my wedding. I say “supposed to be” because the night before the wedding, her daughter, my flower girl, came down with a 104 degree fever, making it impossible for either of them to attend. With this history, asking Kathryn to be a part of STATE OF THE UNION was imperative.
Kathryn is a non-medium specific artist who uses painting, drawing, collage, photography, sculpture, and immersive sound installations in her practice. As an activist against racism, domestic violence, and animal abuse, her current work comments on these issues and examines the patriarchal power structure that perpetuates them.
For STATE OF THE UNION, Kathryn produced a sound piece of spoken words.
A speech act is an utterance that serves a performative function in communication. We perform speech acts when we offer an apology, greeting, request, complaint, invitation, compliment, or refusal. The speaking of ones wedding vows results in the marriage. It was my priest that told me that she did not marry us, we marry each other by speaking our vows.
You do not speak your divorce agreement. You do not utter the words, except in your own head. To hear the words spoken out loud had a strange affect on me. I find it easy to read something where sound has been embodied in text, a poem for example, where language is used to stimulate the senses, but Kathryn had turned the text of the dissolution agreement into sound. I was again asked to quietly listen. Listen to words I had read, agreed to, and, in some cases, once spoken.
Kathryn’s piece was called Requiem for Divorce Vows. A requiem is a Mass held for the deceased. It also refers to a musical composition for such a mass. Divorce is announcing the death of a marriage. Mourning is necessary for the healing to happen. Kathryn had created a requiem, perhaps not musical in the classical sense, but a true requiem to my ears.
Listen for yourself.