Dylan McLaughlin, Land Talks, 2021; Cottonwood, speaker
Dylan McLaughlin is a sound and video artist and educator, looking critically to sites of extraction, exploring multi-layered weavings of understanding and complexity. In his multi-media installation, interactive, and performative works, McLaughlin looks to engage the poetics and politics of relations to land. In 2016, he co-founded art collective Winter Count with artist Cannupa Hanska Luger. McLaughlin is a recipient of the Fulcrum Fund grant, and has done residencies at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Slow Research Lab, and BoxoPROJECTS. He received his BFA in New Media Art from the Institute of American Indian Arts and completed his Master of Fine Arts in Art and Ecology at the University of New Mexico.
Previously, working as a filmmaker with environmentally focused organizations immersed McLaughlin in Native storytelling protocol. Being raised on the Navajo Nation, and having since lived elsewhere, he has developed a complex view on impacts of legacies of extraction. His practice is rooted in place-based and land-responsive sound art, engaging through new media and performance the concepts that plants produce and detect frequencies for root growth and distress calls, and how human beings have disrupted this landscape communication with resonant infrastructure and deforestation.
It is from the complexity of interpretation, subjectivity of improvisation, that we begin dialogue around how we establish our practice of place.
—Dylan McLaughlin (Diné)
McLaughlin’s LIFT project, Songs of Tempestuous Rising and Falling, will create a sound performance focusing on the legacy of extractive mining on the Navajo Nation. Utilizing open-source data sets from USGS, policy documents from google searches, and interviews within impacted communities, the work will be a meditation on relationships to place, to violence, to harmony, and disharmony. Through an experimental music composition and a performative installation, the project explores the resonating eco-violence of place, creating a platform for conversation and critical analysis. The project explores relationships between the materiality of extractive industries, the continuously shape shifting advents of the technological world, and Indigenous policy, storytelling, and ceremony.