Artist Statement

I’m a new media artist working at the intersection of image, text, and code: I create applications for mobile devices, interactive installations, digital games, and technologically-mediated performances that invite my audiences to critically interrogate the often-invisible systems of knowledge and power that structure our world. Blending strategies of erasure, palimpsest, and constraint-based writing with interactive systems, virtual and augmented-reality, and digital imaging technologies, my interdisciplinary practice seeks to deploy emerging technologies against the grain of the historical, political and material contexts out of which they emerge.

From the philosophical implications of quantum physics to the unjust social ramifications of climate change, each of my research-based projects interrogates a key thinker, idea or history that catalyzed a paradigm shift in the ways in which we understand ourselves and the world around us. As a queer artist, I’ve always been deeply suspicious of dominant narratives and inherited worldviews. I’m drawn to key moments within cultural and intellectual history that give us the tools with which to critically account for the complexity of our lived experiences. Yet these ideas can be extremely difficult to understand and often remain inaccessible to a non-specialist audience. By digitally sampling, processing, activating, and embodying these texts, I create haunting and disarming translations of the ideas they describe, inviting the viewers of my work to encounter them in new and unexpected ways.

CURRENT WORK

Collocations is a work of experimental writing that explores the disruptive implications of quantum physics for science, philosophy and literature. Designed for tablet computers, Collocations employs strategies of palimpsest, visual poetry, and algorithmically defined systems to produce a work of innumerable poetic texts based on an excerpted page from Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein’s historic debates quantum mechanics. Interaction with the work transforms the user into an experimenter whose observation and physical manipulation of the device determines the materialization of any possible number of unique textual configurations in a dynamic, non-linear and kinesthetic reading experience. At the intersection of science, art, language and code, Collocations posits what I call a “quantum poetics” that disrupts classical notions of textuality and offers new possibilities for reading.

SMOKEPENNY LYRICHORD HEAVENBRED, created in collaboration with Jennifer Scappettone and Judd Morrissey, is a language-based performance and interactive installation work that posits a critical archaeology of cloud computing technologies by tracing the material, political and environmental legacies of copper mining. The work centers on the sites, histories, and languages of mining to create a performance grounded in a poetics of generative telegraphy, geophysical extraction, and the multilingual hauntings of forgotten laborers. Immersed in a lush 3D point cloud derived from Lidar data scans of a defunct copper mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, two performers, I (input) and O (output), operate a custom augmented reality system to extract, hoist, encrypt and decrypt language from original and archival sources while composing through a database of 30,000 telegraph codes used for electrical communications of the mining industry in the 19th and early 20th century.

Sin Sol, Forest Memory is an interactive installation and augmented reality game created in collaboration with micha cárdenas. The work, which is set several hundred years in the future, addresses the unequal distribution of climate change’s adverse effects by inviting viewers to step into the shoes of undocumented immigrants and trans women of color as they struggle to survive a world in which wildfires have become commonplace and the air has become saturated with dangerous particulate pollution. As an installation, the work includes a three-channel immersive video installation composed form 3D Lidar data scans of a Pacific Northwest Forest and augmented reality software through which viewers will be able to activate poems situated in virtual space throughout the gallery.

UPCOMING PROJECTS

Specters of Home, currently in its early stages of development, is an interactive installation that explores haunting, exile and colonialism in Israel-Palestine. The project brings together virtual reality, architecture and contemporary dance to explore the ways in which the political exclusion of Palestinians from the State of Israel haunts contemporary Israeli and Jewish-American culture. As viewers enter the installation space, they will find themselves immersed in a lush and ghostly 3D projection of the architectural ruins of the Palestinian village of Lifta, whose 3,000 residents were expelled from their homes during the Palestinian Exodus of 1948. Initially, Lifta appears empty, quiet, abandoned. But as the viewer begins exploring the space, Lifta’s ruins come to life: snippets of audio interviews conducted with the village’s former inhabitants and their descendants become audible, and spectral 3D imagery of bodies in motion begin to emerge.

This project is generously supported by the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington, where I was a Digital Humanities Summer Fellow in 2018.