Cameron Withey

the grasses persist

artist’s statement

The house I’ve lived in this past year is next door to an elementary school, and I’ve gotten accustomed to hearing bursts of joyous sound whenever the kids are sent out for recess. But then they’re sent back in and all is quiet and still. That contrast- between their exuberance on the playground and what I’ve imagined to be their quiet fidgetiness in the classrooms- was my starting point in making this piece.

Writing this was really difficult for me. It is my last gasp at Evergreen and there was so much I wanted to say. I had all these ideas that seemed to be going in different directions. Eventually I let my fragments be fragments in the form of a lyric essay, and this was revelatory for me. I tried to compose specific and evocative vignettes out of material that has been emotionally or imaginally charged for me in recent months and had faith that thematic connections would emerge that I could emphasize.

I hesitate, therefore, to say what exactly the piece is about, but I explore the estrangement from community and the natural world that I experienced growing up and my efforts at reconnection. An emergent theme was imagination, and how it can function to help us ‘fill in’ or ‘round out’ our identities.

For the image track, my intention was to make it simple and not let it distract from the spoken text, but a few unexpected connections came through it as well.

artist bio

Cameron was born in Seattle and has experienced rebirth in Peru and the mountains and rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. He lives in Olympia.