I believed that I wanted to be a poet, but deep down I just wanted to be a poem. ― Jaime Gil de Biedma

I consider my practice to be a living process – asking questions, following curiosity, with the intent of understanding and kinship. The works I create are environmental studies, and recognize the natural world as witness and teacher. Through placing myself and my practice in relation to the invisible histories and physical processes of the body and environment, I've found that one can communicate with and be in relation to all things, tapping into deep sources of wisdom.

In my creative process, which is centred in the practice of listening, I engage in a sensorial intimacy with the living land in order to truly be collaborative, rather than imposing a vision. For me, collaborating with nature is not about using it as a medium for my individual expression, but in finding that place where true communication and relationship exists, and improvising there. The work I create is simultaneously a way to move more deeply into this space of deep relationship with the natural world, and to also share it with others in community.

I didn't grow up with the teachings of my Kanien'kehá:ka culture, however I was lucky to grow up in a family that honoured the teachings of nature through listening, storytelling and living close to the land in Wabanaki Territory. As an adult, my process of art creation has been essential to learning about my culture and development of kinship within my grandmother's home territory, Tyendinaga, as well as in Wabanaki and across Turtle Island.

Transforming and deepening my relationship with the natural world through my art and learning mirrors an inner process of decolonization, as well as self-definition, self-awareness and self-determination as an Indigenous person. I am grateful to the ancestors, stewards, protectors, creatures and kin who care for and listen to this land, Turtle Island, and the territories who have welcomed me.

The natural world is a living archive. Landscape has memory, water carries story. I know when my body is touched by water, immersed in water, a resonance and transfer of information occurs. The water flows through landscapes and my body. It makes me of the landscape – my body, a song for the earth.

I often ask myself, How can we be instruments of the land? Can we hear the natural world speak, and come to know its language? How can the land guide us? Our listening? Our actions? How are we to be, with each other, on the land? What is the land dreaming?

Through my place-responsive work in sound, performance, sculpture and writing, it is my intention to dissolve surface associations and reveal what is underneath and felt by embracing nature's language and listening as wayfinding.

Lindsay Dobbin
Bay of Fundy, 2019