June 2017 | Furthermore Gallery | Portland Oregon
NATURAPHONES is a series of large-scale resonant sculptural chambers realized by Sage Fisher (Dolphin Midwives) and Chelsea Snow. The forms are interactive and designed to engage the participant in experiencing elemental vibrations through the act of listening. The event included ambient performance by water-bearers, movement artists and fountains.
HOW ARE WE?
May 2017 | Furthermore Gallery | Portland Oregon
Walking a labyrinth as a meditation; having an intimate conversation in a safe place; collecting and graphing data: these are all examples of ways that I have sought meaning. They are also examples of different paths I might have taken in life: becoming a nun, a therapist, or a social scientist. Choosing to become an artist doesn’t change the fact that I still identify with these archetypes, all of which share the same intended outcome: to change the world, one step, conversation or data point at a time. I’m curious about the ways people seek meaning in their lives, especially now, in this time of great upheaval and uncertainty. How do we seek as individuals? In relationship? In community? And—how is it working? This project is an interactive inquiry-based installation which asks questions about the ways meaning is constructed—personally, interpersonally and publicly. The interplay between these three distinct pieces, and the way we are asked to interact with them, points to the complexity of our need for a deeper understanding of the conscious and unconscious choices we make about where and how we look for and experience meaning.
DECEMBER 2016 | FURTHERMORE GALLERY | PORTLAND OREGON
The words we choose to describe objects (or ourselves) can be so helpful. Words allow us to understand without seeing:
one thing is black, and another is white.
Words allow us to connect by sharing our deepest feelings:
Words allow us to convey meaning:
this is important.
The words we choose to describe objects (or ourselves) can also really complicate our relationships with those things. When we refer to an object as authentic, it immediately renders the word meaningless. When we refer to ourselves as sincere, it makes us sound like bullshitters.
The complicated nature of words like authenticity and sincerity mirrors the complicated nature of how it feels to be an artist in a hyper-capitalist system, how it feels to be compelled to make things in a world already drowning in things, how it feels to suffocate in the excess of one’s own privilege. This hyper-conscious and self-referential thinking drives my practice, informs my process and steers my material choices. I do not seek to solve problems or answer questions through object-making: instead, I use objects as props and sets to support a form of storytelling that recognizes and values the humanity of others, treats art making as an act of resistance, and seeks to bring awareness to my own simultaneous complicity and defiance within complex systems.
MEDITATING AT IKEA
SPRING 2016 | PORTLAND OREGON
As a new practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, I find the practice to be extremely helpful in terms of reducing general stress and anxiety. Teachers of TM claim that it is a method that unlike many other types of meditation, can be practiced anywhere. David Lynch claims to meditate in airports, so I figured I should be able to do it amongst the arguing couples, crying children and overwhelming indecision ever present in the aisles of Ikea. Using the space of Ikea as a canvas for commentary about anxiety, value and the way the store itself is an eerie representation of real life is not a new thing. For example, a comedian in New York posed as a couples counselor at an Ikea, a group of Dutch pranksters brought a mass-produced Ikea painting into a museum and had art patrons discuss its merit and predict its value and a soap-opera called Ikea Heights was filmed entirely inside an Ikea, without permission. What is it about this place that inspires such insightful commentary and biting criticism? Why do people like me struggle with (or even have) love/hate relationships with this place? Meditating at IKEA is my ongoing attempt to understand the answers to those questions, in all their complexity.
The idea for Meditating at IKEA came about after a presentation I gave in which I presented a wooden toolbox that I "made". By made, I mean assembled from a kit that I purchased at Ikea. I was raising a question about how we identify objects as handmade, and whether a flat-packed, mass produced kit from Ikea might qualify. What criteria are used when determining the value and status of an item? I paid $14.95 for the kit--did my labor add to the value or decrease it since it was no longer "new in box"? Did the fact that I used my own hands and tools to turn a stack of wood into a functioning object make it handmade? This led to a line of questions about Ikea:
- What drives us (as people who "know better" on a social and environmental level) to shop there to begin with? Do we just check our values at the door because when it comes down to it we care more good design and affordability?
- What drives us (as people who don't necessarily want to have anxiety attacks) to shop there to begin with? Do we really think that we are not going to be overwhelmed by choice? Do we really think our partner is going to finally agree on what color ECKTORP to buy?
- What drives us (as people who make things) to buy pre-fab kits of things we could make ourselves? Have we really become that complicit and lazy? Do we really not care? Or do we somehow think on a subconscious level that assembling things ourselves connects us to the things in a way that other readymades don't?
Meanwhile, I was becoming interested in the idea of choice--in the sense that as a both a consumer and a producer--the most important thing we make are choices. As an unapologetic self-help addict, I have read a lot about choice-making, but a lot of times what we read or hear doesn't have a lasting impact on us. I embarked on the Instructions for Making Better Choices project in order to help myself synthesize that information, and get out of my own way when it came to consuming, producing, and other important decision making.