Untitled Conversations, 1995-2018

Author: Joseph Grigely

Framed text, 15 blank papers, pins.

This belongs to the broader collection of “Conversations with the Hearing”, a huge archive of notes, which Grigely has been collecting over decades of exchanges with people who do not know sign language. It looks simple, but there is a catch: although Grigely cannot hear anything, on the other hand he is an extremely good speaker. This means the subject of his hearing disability shifts towards descriptive ability: it is not he who cannot fully express himself but “the hearer” who finds their participation limited to short phrases, sketches and monosyllables that often seem insufficient for them. Language thus reveals itself materially as a resistant, physical, slow, silent medium, which at the same time sparks descriptive genius and records the conversation in the form of small textual Polaroids.