Mason Leaver-Yap works with artists to produce essays, books, exhibitions, and other events. Opening with an original preface by British artist Will Holder, Mediated Monologues is an annotated transcription of a lecture Leaver-Yap delivered at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam. It is a meditation on what it means to have a voice and its relation to the complexities of queer modes of being. Leaver-Yap considers the connection between emotion, voice, and sexuality, grief, and speaking. Finally, they reflect on the implications of having one’s voice digitized, tagged, and stored in a database for future use.
From Mediated Monologues:
"It is useful to think of cultural inheritance as something akin to a downward gravitational pull. Acting as a facet of history, cultural inheritance often comes down from above, sometimes forcefully, and is marked by generational knowledge transfer. Narratives are complex and intertwined, desiring reverence and repetition. Icons are presented to us, and from this array we are sometimes able to choose what to favor, construct, and mythologize or, indeed, debase. We learn codes, gestures and sentiments and within the context of our communities are encouraged and permitted to re-enact these behaviors. This is how legacies emerge and stabilize.
Anecdotes can facilitate this history-building. However, as radically mobile kernels of personal knowledge, they can also undermine the stability of large cultural inheritance narratives. They have agency. This is largely because anecdotes care little for authenticity. Authenticity in cultural inheritance is prized, but anecdotes need not even be true—they must simply be trusted. Moreover, regardless of their veracity to real-world events, anecdotes often speak of negative experiences and appear confessional. The form is easily suffused with micronarratives of racism, misogyny, half-caught lines of verbal abuse and violence."