Alutiiq artist Tanya Lunkin Linklater examines an embodied relationship to the land through ghostly language, which appears and disappears silently. Written as an event score, this text was spoken as part of presentations and lectures by the artist and presented in her first collection of poetry, Slow Scrape. Through questions and white space, the video, made entirely of poetic text, invites slow, visceral consideration of how experience is shaped by land and place. Phrases and questions open up complex histories of Indigenous stewardship and connection to Afognak, and the trauma of land loss and colonization.
Linklater says of her artistic practice:
“Grief is present in quite a lot of my work. As an Alutiiq person I can only speak about our collective history from my perspective. I think that there are a range of understandings of our history. Our strengths include our efforts to revitalize our language, our songs, our dances, our Alutiiq ways of being on the land. Growing up, I participated in subsistence activities: fishing, hunting… Those skills and those understandings of the tides, of the winds, and our land at home have continued from generation to generation, as our strength as Alutiiq people. However, the brutality of Russian colonization certainly left lasting impacts…[O]n the one hand, I feel a great hope for the future, but I also contend with this very difficult, violent history that our people have endured.”