Being Siri

In this radio essay, I document my experience donating my voice to a stranger through VocaliD, a company that creates personalized synthetic voices for people with neurological speech disorders. Using my own "voicebank" recordings as material, I piece together a story about human connection—the unhappy connection we feel to our own voices, even as we scorn them, and the unlikely connection we can forge by giving our voices to someone else.

Originally aired on UnFictional on KCRW: "You Want a Piece of Me?" Feb. 3, 2017

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converse

Our Time Is Up

Our Time is Up tells the story of Jake and Helen McCleary, an elderly couple struggling to save their troubled marriage. The story unfolds across a series of audio snapshots from weekly therapy sessions, in which Jake and Helen sort through the messy details of their failing relationship. Unlike a conventional audio drama, the voices of the two main actors are constructed from fragments of oral history recordings: my grandfather, Josiah Patton (1919-2009) and Juanita Bowman (1900-2000).

Winner of a Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Award, 2016

What Hadn't Happened

In April 1934, my grandma’s sister Gloria drowned in a copper wash boiler on the family farm in northwest Minnesota. Gloria was 18 months old. My grandma, Olive, was not quite three. She was the only one there when it happened. This is the story of what happened afterward—told and retold in words, images, and voices.

"What Hadn't Happened: A Multimedia Memoir," Provocations, 2016
Grand Prize Winner in Visual Storytelling, The Atavist's Digital Storymakers Award, 2013

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Her Husband's Wife's Pancreas

A work of experimental multimedia nonfiction, which tells the story of my grandparents’ fifty-year relationship—as neighbors, as friends, and as husband and wife. I designed this piece using archival images and audio cut from oral history interviews to create an imagined 'conversation between my grandparents' following their deaths.

(7:45, animated audio collage)

Published in Quarterly West, Issue 86

Coerced Confessions

In this video series, I digitally “coerce” dramatic reenactments of real-life public confessions from the bodies of unwitting actors. The videos are produced by, first, rearranging textual source material from real-life confessions into scripted fictional monologues; then, recording actors performing the monologues with no knowledge of their source; and, finally, reverse-engineering those performances back into the original confessional texts.

Selected for On the Body, National Juried Exhibition, Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA, 2016


confessions
Olive Project

The Olive Project

This project is devoted to the memory of my grandmother, Olive. It is at once her life story and not a story at all. In a sense it represents the product of an intimate family collaboration and of the close journey we shared in collecting and preserving her oral history. But this project is not a product, nor is it entirely about my grandma, about me, or about the sentiment out of which it emerged. The Olive Project is about process, and at its core it is also about youabout your encounter with it, and about your participation in the ongoing process of composing memory.

Winner of the Kairos Best Webtext Award, 2012