Employing stenographers has become de rigeur at conferences nowadays. Seasoned veteran stenographer Norma Miller has been transcribing every single word that’s been said at Superscript for audiences following the conference via live stream. “And yesterday that included 55,826 words. So I’m glad we’re not paying by the word,” joked conference organizer and Walker Art Center Editor Paul Schmelzer, alluding to recurring debates about critics’ wages. In his remarks, he challenged the audience to shout out artspeak to stump Miller. “Anyone?”
The words appeared on screen as soon as they were yelled out.
During a break from typing out what would eventually total 113,361 words, I pulled Miller aside to ask her about the practice of stenography and how its increasing employment by institutions might indicate that they’re becoming just a tad bit less ableist.