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a soft launch + reading celebrating the work of the iTi MFA Class of 2020 at the Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair

Sitting on the Floor Where We Were

Raegan Bird on Laura Pierson

Laura’s page, opens with a phrase I am unfamiliar with, yet can recognize as an “ism”, a personal sentiment from someone of an elder generation.
Humming, then Just be right, just to have another day.

This is like asking the bus driver on your route how they are and getting the response

Woke up today!

or a phrase grandparents use as a ritual greeting or in departing words.

Remember, you can come to Grandpa’s house anytime you want to.

It becomes bittersweet over time.

The “ism” is followed by a block of statements and questions that I at first found myself trying to answer, before recognizing it as an invitation to a memory.

I am with the grandchildren and they are being let inside for a song.

Stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above.

The centerfold is a meeting place for images of a woman.
The pictures are scrapbook sized and sorted in groups or hovering slightly in-between.
Some images double or appear as if they are taken on the same day.
The pictures rest on a background that appears to be a painting.
Deep purples, blues and a soft green come together and apart in a way that makes time feel fluid and difficult to grasp.

From the mountains, to the valleys, to the oceans white with foam

The woman in the portraits appears at a young age.
She stands for a headshot or in front of a car or a white paneled home, in delight of the camera.
At an almost equal ratio she appears as elderly, in bed or hunched over.
She seems either less aware of being a subject or less joyful about it, with the exception of one image where she has a hand placed on her hip with one arm in motion, beaming at something out of the frame.

Propped over the newspaper, I am both young and old.
My belly is sinking into the beams of my parents' back porch, plump with decaf.
I am thinking of my own grandmother, the one that played a more significant role in my life.
How her stories become more fictionalized with time.
How quickly families, countries, worlds are changing, has changed, will change.

A list of “Things I inherited from Her”

Teeth, costume jewelry and stubbornness. Loves and needs.

 And one empty tic mark—simultaneously representing a future to be filled in, or a past 
left forgotten.

I think of the things I have already forgotten to remember or remembered to forget
and how my ability to control the distinction will fail over time.

Raegan Bird is an artist / farm laborer that co-runs the publishing project Blue Arrangements. 

Learn more about Laura Pierson here.