Sharing life; the possibilities and limits of testimony within creative practice.

Social Practices

Project details

  • Seecum Cheung
  • Project Leader
  • Seecum Cheung
  • DurationSeptember 2021-December 2022
    Affiliated activities

    Sharing life’, or ‘the difficulty of working through conflict’, is what Jeremy Bendik-Keymer proposes as the fundamentals to life as social praxis, and, as democracy in the making. Sharing, ‘having a portion of (something) with another or others,’ includes the proportional sharing of experiences, knowledge, cultures and histories. It is in this act of giving and receiving that we begin to understand the mutual (co)dependencies that we might have in relation to one and another but what if the practice of listening fails?

    This research project proposes relationships as the site for investigating our mutual interdependencies. The complexities of listening, of being heard, and of understanding bias – our own, and others, which in turn affects our ability to listen and receive the experience and knowledge that others might have to share.

    This study looks towards various mass testimonial listening projects such as the archive of the the USC Shoah foundation, and the compilations of investigative journalist and oral historian, Svetlana Alexievich. The project will also focus upon the practices of creative practitioners who critique the troubles of bias and ethical framing when encountering and translating the oral histories on behalf of others including visual artists Sky Hopinka, Michael Rakowitz and Susan Hiller, and filmmakers Agnés Varda and Alexander Sokurov.

    Seecum Cheung works as a Research Lecturer for this project.

    Image Source: Enemy Kitchen, 2003 – ongoing. Cooking workshop by Michael Rakowitz.
    “Enemy Kitchen staff, comprised of Iraqi refugees and American veterans of the Iraq War, outside of Milo’s Pita Place, an Iraqi restaurant in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood that operates the truck.” Source: accessed 12/10/22