James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

that may or may not exist

100: different archives

The Q was chilly and my glasses fogged. Entering the train felt like into a grocery freezer, looking for a pint of ice cream. It was a 50 minute ride to meet Tyler. I’m a guest on his radio show.

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I emerge from a silver tunnel onto the upper east side. Rainbow bibs limply hang on sweaty runners. I walk up five floors to Tyler’s neat apartment. Cable managed cords hide behind the corners.

I’m nervous as shit for some reason. Music is personal and revealing. Your tastes are broadcast to the world in harmonies of other people’s doing. It’s probably why my streaming services are set to private.

Clumsily I explain bloghouse and gleefully explain my favorite 808s that tickle behind Metro Boomin and Gucci’s “Tho Freestyle.” I nearly tear up discussing the importance of Yeah Yeah Yeahs to my adolescent awakening. Off mic, we discuss death, ephemera, and what the artifacts our being.

But something was really special about those three hours, and that was dedicating undistracted time to listening to music with someone. It’s a very intense and intimate experience, different from walking past a stoop and a Bluetooth rattles underneath Air Force 1s, or a 3 Train and an iPhone stuttering and gasping for an LTE signal. Many times, as we shared space in that living room with our headphones on, my eyes closed and I found myself dancing, forgetting there was someone else there. Occasionally my earcup would slide upward and hear the room tone of the nearest avenue.

It reminds me of the comfort that comes from sharing a living space with a partner. The hum of a fan, the pitter-patter of a keyboard, the gentle yelp of a mistakenly tapped Instagram story. The comforts of home.

When I was younger, one of my first musical memories was holding my ear to the door of the bathroom. Whenever my dad showered, he shuttled his boombox into the space, popped in a tape player, and sometimes would sing along to the music. One of those songs was “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker. Music for me moved from a public experience with my brother and sister, into more of a private experience to augment the world as I moved about it. Sonic VR.

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I wonder, what will be made of our data once we leave this earth. Will people browse our Apple Music accounts, just as we thumbed through the tape decks of parents and grandparents, trying to grasp a memory of their being through pixels? Would this radio show be kept as a record of myself in 2019, weeks away from turning 30, and the anxieties that flooded my brain? Or will it eventually disappear, much like the condensation on my glasses, as I entered that Q train at Atlantic Avenue? I guess that’s why we keep putting things in the world, in hope that someone, once we are gone, will have an idea of who we were when we were on this earth.

James T. Green