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March 11, 2024

Blog: Conversation as Art

Over the last 7 months I have been interviewing people I admire for the Everything Mixtape Newsletter. The process has been extremely educational: every couple of weeks I have a zoom call and get to ask thoughtful questions to thoughtful writers, filmmakers, comedians, scholars, activists, musicians, artists and more…

Even though there is something more journalistic about this process, I also find there’s a creative element to a free-flowing and engaged conversation. It requires a lot of deep listening but also the ability to respond in a way that propels the other person – both in terms of the point they are making and the energy with which they make that point.

While great art has been made through solitude and introspection, I’m uniquely drawn to creativity that happens in relationships and community. The back and forth between people and their creative perspectives is bound to generate something interesting, warts and all. Del Close, the American writer and actor, wrote about improvisational techniques and how these are defined by their failure and humanity. He draws a parallel with Sufi Weavers who, when accidentally making a mistake in creating a pattern, would then intentionally repeat that mistake over and over so it became part of the piece.

To me there’s no higher artform than representing the messiness of humanity, prominently displaying its odd, uneven and surprising characteristics. Interviews resemble some of that process to me, they’re about meeting and showcasing people for who they are, listening to them and understanding their complexities.

Some of my favourite chats include:

  • Mabli Jones on Direct Action, Policing Protests and Movement Ecologies | Link
  • Akwugo Emejulu on How We Talk About Goodness | Link
  • Andrew Wasylyk on Perception, Grief and Sandwiches | Link

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