Dumb is a comic series about my voicelessness due to injury, and the subsequent months of recovery. It is also a collection of audio pieces, an interview project, a video collage, a documentation experiment, and a filter through which to examine identity, physiology, spirituality, intimacy, sociology, privilege, justice, and more. And everything.
Where did this come from?
In October of 2012, I confronted the worst of an injury I had been strategically ignoring since that spring. After consulting a doctor, I was told that the intense and enduring pain around my vocal cords was a very bad strain and in my case, the severity of the injury would determine the length of the recovery—six months, if not more.
Faced with chronic pain for at least that long, I decided on drastic treatment in the form of total vocal rest. I quit all my jobs, notified my friends, and researched everything I could about vocal hygiene and best practices. I then began to take on the challenge of maintaining my life while adapting it to speechlessness. As a doctor and one Emploi-Quebec councillor told me, I was temporarily disabled.
This is the story of living day-to-day without a voice. I spent almost three months speaking less than 30 minutes a day, sometimes going for a few days or a week at a time without speaking at all. Since then, I’ve been increasing my painless speech time every day, little by little, and now find myself able to speak normally for up to three hours at a time before I need to rest.
My recovery continues.
Where are you going with this?
I’m going everywhere. It has become my deepest fascination. What is a voice? What is your voice, to you? Do you like it? Care about it? Appreciate it?
What about our culture? Other cultures? What roles have voices filled throughout history? How do they affect our physiology? Our psychology?
I will explore all of it until I’m bored with it. I don’t see the end coming anytime soon.