Title. Offensive | Defensive 

Date. 2018

City. Santa Fe New Mexico and Regina Saskatchewan

Medium & Size. Performance 

Vanessa Dion Fletcher Performing in Front of An Audiance, Holding Single Porcupine Quill In Her Hand and Multiple in Between Her Teeth, Ancient Way Of Flatening Procupine Quills For Decorative Use, Offencive and Defencive
Vanessa Dion Fletcher Stands in Front of Two People With Porcupine Quills In Her mouth Her Hand Moves to Her Mouth to Pull Out a Single Quill From in Between Her Teeth

Porcupine Quills Were Used Before The Introduction of Glass Beads, They Were Dyed And Embroidered Onto Clothing, Moccasins, etc. For Use, The Quills Need To Be Soaked And Flattened; In The Old Days, Women Would Soak Them In Their Mouths And Pull Them Out Through Their Teeth To Flatten Them.

I Wanted To Feel The Same Thing My People Did Years Ago. I Can’t Speak My Language, But I Can Fill My Mouth With Quills, Like Words I’ll Never Know. I Hold Them On My Tongue, Wanting To Choke a Little Out of Sadness, But Not Letting Myself. Placing The Quills In My Mouth, I Inhibit My Ability To Speak. Approaching People One By One Maintaining Eye Contact I Slowly Remove A Quill From My Mouth And Offer It To Them. This Intimate Gesture Builds a Temporary Connection Between Us. I Repeat This Gesture Cycling Through The Audience, Replacing The Quills In My Mouth As I go. Cry’in Out Loud in English is Inherently Colonial; With Little Access to My Indigenous Languages, I Sometimes Find Power In Silence. 

Documentation of Offensive | Defensive, Queer City Cinema, Regina, Saskatchewan, 2018