Lives / works in Brooklyn
My work explores direct and indirect manifestations of state-sanctioned violence. Specifically, I am interested in the spectacular quality of contemporary screen-mediated, media-enriched, consumerism-as-nationalism. I am fascinated by the inherent cannibalism of the consumer eye, destroying other lives to constitute its own, when capitalism acts as a sublime life-force. When certain bodies become non-human and video game controllers cause real casualties. When fireworks look like missile strikes, tear gas and police lights feel like dance club ambiance, and you can buy a war rug on sears.com. While these phenomenona are by no means unique to America, my recent body of work examines these issues through the lens of the US, a country where I am, both by birth and culture, inextricably entrenched.
In 2011 I co-founded an anti-human-trafficking non-profit in Northern Thailand which which works to empower indigenous minority groups and Burmese refugees. While this project is distinct from my artistic practice, my continued work within forcibly “state-less,” and vulnerablized communities has deeply affected how and why I choose to make art. While my positionality as a white, educated American working within communities whose cultures, histories and languages I do not share is inescapably murky territory— requiring constant self-criticality— my experience negotiating privilege, exclusion, and violence in the rural borderlands of Thailand has dramatically impacted how I view the nation-state as an agent, and how I think about citizenship, privilege, alterity, power structures and state-sanctioned violence. An exploration of these issues therefore comprises the conceptual underbelly of my work.
Bold and sensuous use of color and patterning is a crucial element of my practice, both visually and conceptually. I use saturation— both intensity of color and density of image— as a strategy for seduction. I aim to disarm and subvert through visual ecstasy. An exploration of spectacle through the use of movement, light, immersive environments, and the screen is also a critical aspect of my practice. My interest in spectacle is twofold: in the structure and intoxication of its affect, and in its implications in the Situationist sense of capitalism as the all-encompassing Spectacle. I am particularly interested in the role spectacle plays in contemporary digital media to shape our perspectives, voyeuristically entertain, and simultaneously remove us from, and implicate us in, the trauma of world events.