Stems of Departure
Two semesters ago in a class with Professor Pete Froslie, I conducted a project using MindNode.com, in which I created a fictional character and a story around her based on word searches on Google. I named her Red. So, I Googled the word ‘red’. ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ came up, so I gave Red a cape. I clicked on the first link on the resulting list and found the terms ‘fairy tale’ and ‘super hero’. So, I made Red a tiny nymph-like creature with the ability to time travel. She also likes to wander in a mystical forest. After several Google searches, Red evolved into a secret agent trying to decode the algorithms created by monsters attempting to take over the world. Or something of the like.
I enjoyed this process of collaborating with an existing network to create a narrative. In this case, it was the rhizomatic internet. What other networked systems can I use to create stories and characters? Or do the stories already exist and I am simply untangling or sifting truths from a mess of data?
The memory or the mind in general are definite networks of pattern and associations.
As I began with the character Red as a seed of departure, I will begin a similar project with an existing random object. A cream and rose colored fake plastic flower in my bedroom keeps tugging at my curiosity. So, I’m taking it places and free-writing about it. I write the word “The fake plastic flower”, I write down what follows. Usually a trail of associations or memories, what does this phrase or word make me think of or feel? The beginning and the end of these trail poems seemingly have nothing to do with each other, but what lies between completes the story. An example:
The fake plastic flower
Young Asian girls
The fake plastic flower
The edges fray
Short denim jean shorts
Ravel makes me think of the word relish, or rapture
Words of summer
What happens in a park at night
I don’t necessarily want to ‘figure out’ the systems that make up my mind or memory, science can do that. Rather, I want to use this process to fuse and meander through fiction and non-fiction. But don’t I have to figure out first where is the line between reality and imagination? Or does a line exist? Maybe they feed each other, as my conjured character Red used existing Internet search results to create herself. And the results used Red to figure a new pattern within its cloud of data. My fake plastic flower comes with its own stories, I come with mine. I will see where they meet and take it from there.
I wanted to create an organic substance that looked and felt like sand, but was sticky. The plan was to use it to mold shapes and alphabet letters to write poems, then use a blow dryer or a heatsource to melt the words back together.
So, I put droplets of water on a small pile of sugar and smushed it around until it was pliable, but sturdy enough to hold a shape. I played for a while, then smoothed out the layer of gooey sweetness into a flat circle like cookie dough and called it an evening.
The next morning, I found a smooth crystalized sheet that shimmered under my lamp. Not quite dry and still sticky on the underneath, it cracked into pieces when I tried to budge it. Then, it hit me.
The last remnants of winter snow from a season that didn’t exist. With these final frozen sheddings, I created scenes that capture fictional portrayals of natural transition.
Unlike with real snow, my hands got very sticky!
Continuing Skin Work: Imaginary Treasure Hunt
Picnic Rain (One)
Picnic Rain (Two)
Picnic Rain (Three)
Close Up, Trail Finding
By The Shore (Two)
Beneath the Tree
The Beginning and/or the End of the Hunt
Continuing Skin Work: Various Fleshes
Poetry Series: Shy Markings
Continuing Skin Work: Agate Markings
If time can be seen as a geological process, I inscribe intimate texts on organic fragments of this process. Dissecting to reveal tender messages and requests. Language thick with desire and compromise, evidence of relational conscience, is still a fleeting, fragile scatter of symbols, frozen for further contemplation like a strange new species in a petrie dish. The ink easily smears on the glassy surface, as impermanent and malleable as a spoken word.
Skin Work: (Bark and map pins) I trace prominent freckle clusters and shapes on parts of my body and map them on pieces of bark with small pins to create an impermanent self-portrait. Impermanent because the bark is disintegrating and my freckles constantly fade and darken, appear and disappear. Like stars–both emerging and fading on the sky’s skin–this metamorphosis is a slow and steady organic process.
Skin Work. My latest project: mapping constellations on fallen leaves. As I pin hole and document each one, I feel I’m collecting evidence. Or rather, I am creating evidence of a world that may or may not exist. The map is a fractured puzzle that does not necessarily fit together. I like to think the constellations literally fell from the sky like the leaves.
It is interesting to notice how cracks, bug bites and fractures from my clumsy handling affect the dotted patterns. If I (or someone) did not know that this particular leaf represents (or is) the cluster of stars named Virgo, would it be wrong to call the altered cluster Virgo? Misleading, a lie, a fortune-telling of cosmic events to come…perhaps the slivered bite at the top of Pegasus is actually a black hole building energy that no one has found yet. But this is just a map. What does a map say.
Out of Place
Sample photos from a photo and video installation.