The biggest lesson I will take away from my graduate studies at CCAD is to trust myself and my practice. I have succeeded in everything that I set out to accomplish. I have learned that my practice is the most important thing in my life. It is the only constant. Throughout my life, my creative practice has sustained me. It has gotten me through the darkest of hours. I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was 5 years old. I have married my practice. At beginning of the creation of my thesis I felt pressured to create a lasting archival artifact. That is not what this piece needed. This piece needed to disappear when its time is finished. I had to follow my heart and decide and defend this choice.
As my piece has progressed I have begun to align myself with Nouveau Realisme as well as Fluxus. The most obvious connection for me is that the Nouveau Realists used destruction as a way of creating. I am tearing and peeling away at the images and with each action I am creating something new. I am creating something visually new as well as creating a new moment. The entire piece is centered around destruction in order to rebuild. The destruction is the piece. I also dismiss the notion that artists are solitary individuals that are alone in their studio creating precious objects for privileged people, galleries, and museums. Unlike the Nouveau Realists, I am not occupying a public space or inviting the public to physically participate in my work. I have created a space that allows for audience interaction. This is my way of breaking down the barrier between artist and audience. When engaging with the audience I make it a point to not use perceived pretentious art speak. I am mindful to use words and phrases that are familiar to people outside of the high academic art echochamber.
Newsprint and Wheat Paste
The tangible materials I’ve chosen to use are materials that are readily available to most anyone, affordable, unarchival, and have a history in protest. I use unarchival newsprint & craft paper to print the images and I apply it to my surface using wheat paste that I make myself. Both types of paper I use can be found for a relatively low price on Amazon.com as well as at many craft & hobby stores. Most people have the ingredients in their kitchen cupboards to make wheat paste and if they don’t they can get them at any grocery store. This is important to me because I freely give the score to viewers/witnesses and I want them to be able acquire the materials easily so that they may create the piece themselves. My personal content is often very cerebral and therefore it becomes inaccessible to a large portion of the population. By using these readily available materials I am making it accessible in a different way.
The choice to use unarchival materials supports my desire to keep the moments and the piece somewhat ephemeral. With time, these materials will degrade and disappear just as the moment and the memory of the moment does. There is nothing that we can do as humans to keep the memory alive as it existed in that moment. I treat the wheat paste with salt and cinnamon to increase the longevity of it, but eventually it will mold and become a new organism. We can keep memories of moments alive through various techniques, but as time progresses the memories continue to morph and evolve into something that only references a past experience.
As I write this, I have yet to complete the 83 hours I set out to perform. In 2015 I spent 83 hours in the dual treatment program of Tristar Centennial Hospital Parthenon Pavilion Psychiatric wing for a suicide attempt accompanied by substance abuse issues. Originally this amount of time was incredibly important to the piece; however, as the performance progresses I have realized that the exact amount of time is not important. Temporality, permanence & impermanence, and immediacy have become the vital focus in reference to time. It is not the amount of hours that I spend, but that I am working everyday. This is a representation of the necessary act of addressing and working through traumatic experiences to become a more authentic and kind human being.
Each element of Remnants of Hysteria or Pretentious Fucking Trash (2019) is temporary. In the above section I have expounded on how the tangible separate pieces are temporary. The piece as a whole is also temporary. The combination of the tangible materials i.e. the ‘wall’ will cease to exist once the exhibition has ended. The movement of time has led to the deshaping of the object. This is due in part to the actions that I perform as well as the unarchival nature of the medias I have used. Performance in itself is temporary. It vanishes as soon as its experienced. It only exists within the temporal parameters of the predefined performance. In every single moment we are experiencing the dissipation of the previous moment.
The 4th dimension is my favorite dimension and I believe that is where my soul resides. The first time I realized that I existed on an entirely different dimension was my first experience with DMT. I was able to see the way in which the movement of time causes space to dematerialize and to take a new form. The permanence of time causes the impermanence of space. The found object wall references a monument and is seemingly a permanent fixture. The monumentalization of my past experiences within the images denotes an importance given to them and the literal scraping away implies that memories are impermanent. By peeling away what is seen as important I insinuate that my future actions are equally as important, if not more, than where I have been.
A thing’s place is no longer anything but a point in its movement, just as the stability of a thing is only its movement indefinitely slowed down.
The audience can see the progression of time and the impermanence of the image laden wall through my physical actions and manipulations to the object. I have also allowed myself to communicate with the audience which has added another layer to the impermanence of the piece. These interactions are fleeting for both the audience member and for myself. Each viewer then has their own personal experience with the object and with the spatio-temporality of the performance.
Immediacy is a key theme within the creation and within the execution of the piece. I believe immediacy begins with instinct. I began the final version of RoHoPFT (2019) by following my intuition. I was in the studio late one Sunday night wheat pasting my images to the wall trying to figure out what to do with that creation. Suddenly, the idea to simply peel them away came to me. The act of placing the images on my wall and the act peeling the images off the wall is intuitive and immediate. I act, then think, then explain. I have learned to trust my body and my work. It will show me what it needs. Immediacy is about the here & now. The combination of space and of time. As I have mentioned above I have allowed myself to talk to the audience. I answer their questions and we have a natural conversation. I allow them to lead the interaction. This has lent itself to an immediate understanding of my intentions with the piece. It’s instant gratification for them and for me.
My body is the most important material in this work and in my practice as a whole. Without my body, this piece wouldn’t exist. Almost all of the images are of my physical body and I am the piece. The action of peeling away the images is the piece. Placing myself as subject and object in this autobiographical work creates and empathy between the audience and myself. This empathy allows for the audience to have a deeper connection with the piece. It is no longer simply visual, but becomes kinesthetic and visceral.
This has been a pretty big week for me. I recently quit my day job and so I’ve been able to spend 40-60 hrs in the studio in the past few weeks. It’s been nice. I feel like I’ve finally caught up in the physical work. I haven’t written or read as much as I’d like. I feel very
behind in that. I’m not quite sure what to write about anymore. What I thought was apparent in the piece isn’t. I do think that I need to write more about the history and craft of performance and feminist performance art. Woman as both subject and object in her work. Continue reading “What’s best for my practice or putting myself first”
Things are quickly becoming real. I had a critique last week (the last one before install), I think I may have gotten what I needed from it. Last Monday I had gotten the go ahead to use the wall that’s already in DSB; however, I had to wait for facilities to repair it before I could start with attaching my images. So, I had nothing really to show for crit and I was losing my mind. Well, it has already been slowly fading away so last week just kinda sped up the process. Up until Thursday morning I had no idea what I was going to do for critique. I ended up deciding to workshop the theories that I thought were coming Continue reading “Everything’s Coming Up Millhouse!!!”