PROJECTS


SELF-MODULATION FOR A NEW AGE

(2021) A digital remedy for pandemic and post-pandemic times, performed in Photoshop. During a year when so much of our lives has moved to virtual platforms and when the need for healing and self-care is so profound, this ritual misuse of digital space for relaxation and pleasure is a small act of resistance and self-determination. Please email me for a link to watch.


TOWARD A NEW PLASTICITY IN TROUBLED TIMES

(pre-pandemic 2020) This is a 5-channel video work that I conceived of and directed but which was made in collaboration with Simone Johnson, Swati Piparsania, Pei Ling Ho, and Lisa Crafts who each brought their own inclinations and needs to the project. Each performer, myself included, conceived of their own version of a tabletop ritual using personal mundane objects with the goal of creating an antidote, a bit of comfort, a bit of ground, a bit of collective agency in the face of massive global issues. With the world in shambles (toward the end of Trump's presidency) and many of us in a state of deep agitation navigating a deluge of information delivered increasingly through screens, it felt essential to our collective sanity and survival to create a space (especially an absurd one) that allowed us to reorganize and rewire our bodies and brains for resilience, persistence and connectedness.


TOWARD A NEW PLASTICITY

(2019-2020) Elite athletes perform mini-rituals when they play. They might bounce the ball three times before each serve and in those few seconds they regain ground, restore energy and can perform at peak levels again. If there is any deviation it doesn’t work. This video toys with that fabricated, self-soothing, ritual energy. With the world seemingly crumbling around us, it seems essential to create spaces that allow us to reorganize our bodies and brains for resiliency, groundedness, and persistence in these troubled times.


AS ABOVE/ SO BELOW

(2019) This video is constructed from personal observational footage and homespun rituals staged with and often disrupted by my 5-year old son. It began as a somewhat tongue-in-cheek but earnest attempt to prevent the darkness of insecurity and anxiety from passing from one generation to the next. It became a hypnotic meditation on the tangled threads of parenting, nature, power, and control.


UNCONDITIONAL: One-on-one simulated rituals for personal defragmentation

(2018) It’s Bedtime Somewhere was a live performance event which explored issues of family, childhood, dreams and healing through ritual and sensory experiences. I worked with visitors one-on-one to earnestly create dubious rituals for personal defragmentation. This event was organized and curated independently by interdisciplinary artist Pei-Ling Ho and composer Cai-Jhen Jhu. Featured artists also included Georgia Lale, Hera HaeSoo Kim,and Pei-Ling Ho with Shannon Michelle Stovall.


TRACE OF STILLNESS

(2018) This work evolved out of a long distance, cross-cultural creative exchange between Matěj Al-Ali and myself over several months. Apparatus 2.0 was the second part of an exhibition organized by EFA Project Space in New York and Foundation and Center for Contemporary Art (FCCA) in Prague where groups of artists were asked to reflect on how we gather research and build knowledge about culture, and on the library as a space for slow processes of contemplation and discovery. A personal prompt about making due in an uncertain political climate sparked a conversation about presence and absence, the ephemerality of life, and the various cultural systems we labor within trying to make our mark. Curated by: Tereza Jindrová, Meghana Karnik, Michelle Levy.


AN INADEQUATE SOLUTION TO A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM:

Addressing the psychological toll of a Trump presidency with amateur magic

(2017) This project was included in an evening of performance at the gallery Studio 10 in Brooklyn, NY. I sat at a desk for two hours and offered my dubious (yet earnest) services. Through conversation and improvised hand rituals I worked with visitors one-on-one in an attempt to alleviate some of the anxiety, depression, and overwhelm associated with the Trump presidency. IS THAT A GUN IN YOUR POCKET? A TRIBUTE TO MAE WEST was curated by Perry Bard and also includedperformances in response to the Trump regime by Marcela Casals, Katrin Jonsdottir Hjordisardottir, Georgia Lale, and Boryana Rossa.


TO RETREAT, TO GIVE GROUND, TO RECOIL

(2016, trt:7:18) I perform a version of myself as an artist/mother who retreats to a sound stage to perform a series of rituals in an attempt to reconnect and re-center. The rituals, while ridiculous, are designed to encourage clarity, purification, and balance.


SOMETIMES THEY ALMOST

(2016, trt:4:09) In an attempt to dislodge the malaise of daily routine, I created a ritual video that incorporates elements from Barbora Kleinhamplová's and Alena Kotzmannová's work in the show Apparatus for a Utopian Image at EFA Project Space. I reanimated and re-purposed objects and gestures in a deadpan ritual that was performed and documented in an office building alone, after hours. The resulting video was then incorporated into the show.


FOR SOCIAL INEPTITUDE, DEPRESSION, AND THE FEAR OF EVERYTHING : )

(2016, trt:7:07) In an attempt to reel in the mundane anxieties and indignities of life, a ritual that kind of works and kind of doesn’t.


INADEQUATE CONTACT

(March 2016) For the closing of the group exhibition, Topical Breach (at Mainsite Contemporary in Norman, Oklahoma) of which my work was part, I did a simple performance wearing a full body green spandex suit over the course of two hours. Visitors received the prompt, "Pretend I am someone or something you have lost and sorely miss. Give me a good long hug." I performed 24 hugs that evening and we mourned the loss of parents, children, pets, and friends, as well as innocence, countries of origin, and connections to oneself. The interactions were intimate, awkward, sometimes raw, and often cathartic for the participants and myself. Curated by Laura Reese. Photo credit: Timothy Amundson.


THE PRESENCE OF THAT WHICH IS NOT PRESENT

(2014-2016) Through this series of short video rituals I seek to engage with and understand the range of strategies humans fabricate in order to connect with feelings of meaningfulness, mastery, and self-worth. Motivated by the various anxieties and indignities that I, and those around me, bump up against on a regular basis, these videos result in an odd combination of futility and agency, doubt and hope.


ARTIST ATTEMPTS AUTOMATIC DREAM READING

(November 10, 2012) As part of an evening of performances and interventions organized by Recess Activities at the Museum of Modern Art, visitors were invited to have one-on-one amateur dream readings with me among surrealist works on the 5th floor. Though I lack training and much in the way of experience, I was irrationally confident in my abilities, relying upon the surrealist spirit of automatic writing and drawing to see me through. The results were uneven, absurd, periodically insightful, and surprisingly intimate. Click here to see a compilation of the dreams I heard.


UNNAMED BROADWAY MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL! / EXORCISING ANNIE

(April 14-May 19, 2012) In an attempt to understand and exorcise a life-long fixation, I mounted a barebones, experimentally cast production that used an orphan-themed Broadway musical, I was advised not to name (hereafter referred to as "[unnamed Broadway musical]"), as its point of departure. Denied the right to perform any of the original material in the gallery, the group, under the direction of Sarah Cameron Sunde, had the absurd task, that is, the creative challenge of generating a production that managed to fulfill the eight performers’ sincere desire to be in [unnamed Broadway musical] without them actually being in [unnamed Broadway musical]. Click for more information. Watch the videos.


TREMENDOUS

(2010, trt: 1 hr 14 min) Organized around the principle of a tidal wave, the content of this video was shot with the participation of more than 170 visitors during a three-month residency at Recess, a unique artist program/ gallery space in Manhattan. I built seven minimalist gray-scale sets inside the storefront space and invited visitors into conversation with the use of an intake form. The resulting video is a complex but cohesive experimental narrative about the experience of being overwhelmed. It is made up of interviews, reenactments, and performances conceived of in collaboration with visitors. Click to watch.


CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS

(2011) To process a particularly strong affinity for the show Friday Night Lights, I decided to draw every hug from the first season over the course of a year. Click to see.

hug from friday night lights

THE NEED FOR GRAND EMOTION

(2009, trt: 30 min 22 sec) In this series of staged dramas reminiscent of classic anxiety dreams, 30-year old Will inexplicably finds himself back in high school trying to win the approval of a group of girls. In scenarios ranging from mundane and pathetic to violent and absurd, the character and the video work together self-consciously to squeeze authentic experience and emotion from the most artificial and mediated of circumstances. Click to watch.


THE TEMPORARY AND HEROIC TRANSCENDENCE OF ONE'S FATE

(2008, trt: 24 min 44 sec) In 2007 Mario Cuellar, then the head security guard at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, volunteered for one of my video projects. He delivered a surprisingly moving performance for such a shy and reserved man. After Mario asked me several times about other performance opportunities, I decided to create a vehicle for him and his intense desire to be seen. Exploring our similarities and differences, I asked Mario to play me and himself in a series of staged dramas. This disruption of gender and identity is paired with an examination of the various techniques one uses to grapple with and transcend mortality in the midst of daily life. Click to watch.


A PROBLEM OF COURAGE

(2008) An installation at DiverseWorks in Houston, Texas that included the video One Thing After Another with other videos, photos, and other objects. Read the accompanying writing for the show.


ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER

(2007, trt: 27 min 41 sec) This video takes a look at the way travesties large and small hang about; the way regret, grief, humiliation, and tension play themselves out after the fact, shifting in and out of consciousness, repeating endlessly, and being re-made along the way. It was shot completely alone by the artist using only costumes and props that were on hand. Click to watch.


REINCARNATED SCENES

(2005-06) From 2005-2006 I shot more than 30 movie scene reenactments alone in my apartment using whatever costumes and props were on hand. These crude reenactments are my effort to degrade and venerate the heroics of Hollywood movies. By working completely alone and utilizing the techniques of cinema in the simplest possible ways I hope to recreate narratives that are stripped of everything but the pathos inherent in consuming the medium. Click to watch.