October 1935 takes its name from the first poem of the series Six Memorials by Ursula Bethell. These poems were written in mourning for the woman Bethell called her consort, Effie Pollen, created on the anniversaries of Pollen’s passing. While the couple lived together for 30 years, they were careful about demonstrating their relationship in public.
October 1935 enacts a private ritual of mourning that works with and against language, and the demands of intelligibility. Taking up a constellation of references, the work plays with obscurity as a poetic strategy and a kind of shield, embracing sociologist Tiffany Page’s concept of a vulnerable methodology. In relation to the ethics of telling the stories of others, Page writes, “as well as exposing the fragility of knowledge assembly, a vulnerable methodology might be closely positioned with questioning what is known, and what might come from an opening in not knowing.”