Tanya Lukin Linklater / Suk

From Issue 3.48: 50th Anniversary Issue 3/3 (Fall 2022)

A suk enters a museum walking amidst the collection (seen/unseen).1 They withhold song (sing). The world sings but not the museum.2

I wonder if song is an architecture for protection.

If one song is unfurled, are other songs held inside, codes.

The songs for baskets become dimensional. Sound drops over the edges, scrapes the roundness and softness of the woven grasses sensing the spaces between the grasses.

Song may be a tincture against collective forgotten-ness.

Remembering perhaps restores, repairs, regenerates objects through time.3 Meanings become multiplied through sharing (singing).

A song for stars

Constellations are stars in relation to one another. We perceive the stars to be architected into forms. Not/atmospheres, these star structures come to carry different meanings over time by those who view them.

Our bodies are comprised of cells, organs, blood, collagen, musculature, nerves, skin, hair, genetic material, hormones, bone, mineral constituents.4 Our bodies are organized.

Our bodies carry invisible but felt meridians. Meridians are described in relation to flow, movement, and stoppage. Meridians remind me of unseen star formations. Meridians punctuate the body.

Particles that make us make the universe.5

On the organization of performance

Our designs, materials, aesthetics, ideas, songs, dances, peoples, and families were interrupted. How can I not be interrupted in this work? 6

I do not make choreography to be kept. Will we remember this dance later or is it anti/choreographic, a dance that disappears.7

Thomas DeFrantz tells us: Dance is not representation. It is action.8 I sometimes wonder what this action is. Is the action related to an insistence on our humanity, our imagining of ourselves as more than objects? 9

On short form

Is short form all that we can know about our ancestors? Form may be a moment, an action, an instance. Or, am I describing short? When an idea passes through the short, what happens? This may also mean that which is reductive, shorthand, or citational pointing towards ideas and actions larger than this instance.

Repetitions or continuous instantiation began in a time before we remember and reach towards what we cannot know.

  1. There is a story told by my late great uncle, John Pestrikoff. The first person in the Kodiak Island archipelago, my homelands in southwestern Alaska, was called suk. This is an old word given to us.
  2. The following series of small texts were written in response to my visits to Alutiiq/Sugpiaq and Unangan belongings kept in the Alaska Commercial Collection unless otherwise noted. These ancestral or cultural belongings are stored in the Richmond facility and the now un-named anthropology building of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology affiliated with University of California at Berkeley. The visits took place in September 2018 and April 2019. I am borrowing the term “cultural belongings” from Jordan Wilson.
  3. In conversation with Eungie Joo, 2018.
  4. This list is incomplete and in no particular order.
  5. The last line of this small text is a variation on language that I noted as it arose during the making of Untitled (for Sonya Kelliher-Combs) with dancers Ceinwen Gobert and Hanako Hoshimi-Caines in 2018. During an open rehearsal process at Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 2018, we spoke of stardust, density, gravity, and dissipation.
  6. In conversation with Duane Linklater, 2019.
  7. After Ralph Lemon. Katherine Profeta, “Training the anti-spectacular for Ralph Lemon’s dance that disappears,” Theatre, Dance and Performance Training 2, no. 2 (2011): 215–230.
  8. Thomas F. DeFrantz, “I Am Black (you have to be willing to not know),” Theater 47, no. 2 (May 2017): 9–21.
  9. From writings by and about Amiri Baraka.


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