Bonnie Crawford: SIGHT, SOUND
New to the FlatFile, artist Bonnie Crawford and her partner JB Hunter have collaborated to create a video of intimacy in their home. Featuring footage filmed by Crawford, from in and around her home, and accompanied by both diegetic sounds and synthesized sounds added in by JB, this video reflects the personal, everyday occurrences within Crawford’s home.
Crawford’s Insomnia Drawings are all created in her bed at night when she has difficulty falling asleep. The images and sounds featured in this video are some samples of what reverberates in her memory as she draws.
Along with the video Crawford writes:
This video is a list. A phone placed in a pocket accidentally records video during the early days of the global pandemic. It is spring, and we are spending a lot of time outdoors with the children. Filled with uncertainty, we are planning a large vegetable garden in case the food supply is interrupted in the coming months. We are scared, but undertake this activity as if it's a fun and exciting project with the kids. Cut to a shadow of JB's fuzzy head, and my fingers, playing with the hairs. JB is telling me something personal, and I am getting my dumb phone out to capture the shadows of his head. He tolerates this kind of thing from me often. I remember my late mother telling me about how she stopped crying suddenly once when she was a child because of how beautiful the light looked sparkling in her teary eyes. A piece of tape stuck to my finger, catching the light; sunlight passing through some pieces of broken glass I found by the stream in the park. The kids are finding beautiful rocks, and rocks to toss in the water. These delightful, cheap, twirly toys. A display at the science center from before—when we still went to museums—that uses sound to vibrate a fine silica-type substance, the disco ball filmed through a rolled up piece of paper at a Laurie Anderson performance. Some foul dish water reminding me of Anne Boyer's writing about doing the dishes: That doing the dishes is an attempt to "block ruin's path." A beeping baby snake we found in the yard one night. More tape, more beautiful shadows. This time, from a sign hanging on a chain link fence in downtown Miami, November 2019. We had no idea. More dishes, more beautiful light.
When I wake up at night and begin to draw, my movements, and the clinking sounds of my brushes in the water, the light from my phone, they sometimes wake JB. Sometimes he is already awake. He never seems bothered that I woke him. We chat briefly. He bobs back off to sleep. I finish whatever I'm working on and roll over. We make plans to honor these nighttime stirrings with tea or warm milk, having both read the same article about humans sleeping in two phases. In the past, my insomnia has gotten out of control, making my brain hostile. These days I don't have room for that, and I'm grateful for tenderness in the wakings.
Crawford is a Baltimore-based artist and mom whose work explores how intimacy, risk, and harm inform habits of care. She began working this way when she became a single mother of two and in turn became dependent on extralegal, queer family structures for support. JB Hunter is from Texas, and has lived in Baltimore since 2008. He has been a touring musician, singer, songwriter, and producer for over 15 years. Since the onset of the global pandemic, he has become a step-dad who enjoys toying around with synths.
View more of Crawford's FlatFile work here.
Video Credit: Video Credit: “Learning to Crawl,” video by Bonnie Crawford, soundtrack by JB Hunter, featuring the voices of Emmet and Hank Kotula, 2021.