Further complicating the viewer’s perception is the accompanying text. Under the parallel images are variations of the phrase, “WE SEE IT DIFFERENTLY, YOU AND I.” The phrase is conjugated in all sixteen verb tenses of the English language – past,present and future – exposing how time plays a crucial role within this dichotomy. As Silton expresses, “Difference is guided by both object and subject, by conditions, by temporality. This same tree looks different on different occasions, and for various reasons, not the least of which is that I’m looking at it and you are looking at it, and we are different.”
Silton’s etchings are accompanied by an original short story by the award-winning writer Dana Johnson, which moves, dreamlike, between time and place as it relates interactions between two white women and a black boyfriend. As in Silton’s etchings, “we,” “us,” and “they” take on differing, nuanced tones as the narrative progresses, and together, the layering of these elements invokes complex and previously unobserved associations about where we intersect and where we adamantly differ.
Susan Silton’s interdisciplinary projects engage multiple aesthetic strategies to mine the complexities of subjectivity and subject positions, often through poetic combinations of humor, discomfort, subterfuge and unabashed beauty. Silton’s work takes form in performative and participatory-based projects, photography, video, installation, text/audio works, and print-based projects, and presents in diverse contexts such as public sites, social network platforms, and traditional galleries and institutions.