Since relocating to Los Angeles in 2019, I have been working with contaminated urban dirt, urban space, and discarded or obsolete artifacts of contemporary life as my primary materials.
I, often, work directly in the ground, excavating voids in the earth. The opened up subterranean space is then marked with a reflective surface, as a way of bringing the light and the imagery of the surface into the ground and inviting the viewer to recognize themselves as part of these damaged, earthly places.
The excavated dirt is, then, combined with local water, sand, fibers and limewash to create a glue or body that binds objects and materials gathered from the surrounding area together into fragile, non-representational forms. When possible, I test the excavated dirt to determine its contaminants. This testing allows me to seed the contaminated sculptures with the material of their own remediation, including bioremediating fungi and plant spores. Critically, the promise of repair held in this dormant life depends on the disintegration of the form and the future dispersal of its components into an environment capable of supporting life.
In addition to working with these materials in real space, I also use sound and video to examine the materiality and properties of the physical environment, including the human body. I consider this time-based work to be a kind of 4D sculpture, as I layer and blend together fragments of imagery and sound collected from both the “natural” and the “synthetic” environment into an information-dense, affective, sensory experience.
This work is a meditation on the cyclical and interdependent nature of all physical things – a way of considering and experiencing how all things are in a constant state of becoming, as Deleuze puts it, as well as entropy. Form gives way to formlessness, yes, but form is also constantly emerging from the formless.
My work is both a demonstration and a celebration of this fluidity and fungibility of matter. In celebrating these properties of matter and holding up the contaminated, discarded, broken, and low, as worthy of consideration and care, I also see the work as a challenge to heteronormative, Western ideals of purity, permanence, worth, and beauty. In this way, I understand my practice as a kind of queer resistance and social remediation.
I consider my work to be in conversation with the New Materialists and Object Oriented Ontologists, including Jane Bennett, Karan Barad, and Timothy Morton, whose writings challenge anthropocentric views of the universe and time and are of special relevance to humanity at this moment, as we enter into the first waves of human-caused climate crisis. I also see my practice as a part of queer and transfeminist discourse, in conversation with the writings and work of Eve Kovosky Sedgwick, Gordon Hall, and Harmony Hammond. I am particularly interested in how the intertwining, entangled nature of physical reality echoes queer theory’s challenges to binary constructs, including the normative “body,” and how queer discourse about the body, pleasure, and purity can inform and enliven cultural discourse about the Anthropocene.