In “Mourning Methods: Weaving, Burning, Excision, and Preservation,” Amanda Russhell Wallace argues that there is no encapsulated decisive moment in mourning. Rather, it manifests as time based and time oriented collaging amalgamated from broad notions of the archive. Particularly, Wallace’s practice of historical collaging interlaces the past and present with a hopeful thread of futures reliant upon her performing as an artist-magician aspiring to break the mourning. Optical undoing is the point of departure that Wallace’s art practice often takes while running back and forth with the dead and dying. For this issue, Wallace discusses what could be methods of visual critical fabulation (to borrow Saidiya Hartman’s term) via the metaphorical weaving, burning, excision, and preservation as mourning methods that span her predominantly lens-based work.
In two iterations of a project exploring the metaphorical act of weaving as a method of mourning, titled Mo(u)rning Tea, Extracted and Mo(u)rning Tea, Extracted (adapted 2016), Wallace “wove together a scripted conversation influenced by solicited commentary from Black men and women, hair forums, the news, scientific studies, and other sources related to hair texture with (my)self-narration of passages from Kindred by Octavia E. Butler and Corregidora by Gayl Jones” (Wallace 437). Ultimately, Wallace’s project illustrates that “mourning is shaped by an absence, and it is inseparable from the encounter with that which is missing. The absence rather than the presence of signs and signifiers is pivotal. As we must weave the past and present and future, silence and absence become our threads wedded between the documents, stories, dreams, and embodiments” (Wallace 438).
Mo (u)rning Tea, Extracted (adapted 2016) can be found posted to Wallace’s Vimeo account here.