Voices of the Plains started in 2016 and is ongoing. Together, bARTer collective and Sparky the Dog records brings our mobile recording studio and several antique typewriters to different locations scattered about the Colorado High Plains. We then tried to convince strangers to speak into a microphone, peck at a manual typewriter, or strum a guitar.
In our initial tour, we attempted to collect some of the great — and sometimes tall — tales that float thru the prairie like dandelion fur. So far, we have collected in Denver, Joes, Sterling, and Loveland.
We hope to come to your community to continue this collection.
Our exchange taps into a human need for connection. By engaging people in face-to-face conversation, and by offering them the tactile experience of pressing the buttons on manual typewriters and speaking stories aloud, we provide a place where people can be fully present and vulnerable, a place that welcomes unedited emotion.
Given the manner in which our state is popularly portrayed, first-time visitors can be surprised to learn that Colorado is half-prairie. Specifically, we’re talking about the vast swath of flat, treeless, dry, windy, and sparsely populated land that people habitually dread when they drive eastward from Denver .
Of even greater surprise is that fact that, in spite of its appearance, this landscape is teeming with wildlife, wild weather, and wild stories.
In her book Reclaiming Conversation, Sherry Turkle writes, “We live in a technological reality where we are always communicating and yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection…[B]athing ourselves in conversation with others who are actually present rather than connecting with everyone all the time through shimmering screens is where we will find both empathy for others and our own reflective self-awareness.”