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ARTIST STATEMENT / AESTHETIC & PROCESS / POV
I believe that as an artist, my job is not to “fix” the wrongs of the world with easy answers, but instead, to further complicate the question by making the invisible—visible, and hopefully, creating some space for public discourse. I would describe my aesthetic at its best as subversive, humorous, and endearingly inappropriate. My non-traditional, multi-disciplinary approach logically mirrors my own multi-layered identity that has been influenced by innumerous cultures, religions, political thinking, technology and post-modern performance art. My nebulous identity continues to shift within the communities I live, evolve and interact with. I see my performance work as a humorous and ephemeral response to the invisible and visible boundaries that shape my world, rather than a hermetic declaration of my identity.
AESTHETIC & PROCESS
I’m interested in guerilla performance as culture jamming– creating performances that subvert the use of space not intended for “performance.” I experiment with interactive, improvisational performance that blurs the roles of “artist” and “audience”— recasting unsuspecting bystanders as co-stars to my performance personas– unearthing the masks, disguises and performances hidden in the most mundane of daily life. I adore “culture jammers.” Some of my favorites are the street interventions of Michael Moore, the “identity corrections” of the Yes Men, and the feminists who crashed television beauty pageants when I was growing up. Their performances are disguised within daily life to subvert, manipulate, and explode the status quo. I also appreciate the simplicity and elegance of interactive work like Yoko Ono’s. Much of my own guerilla theater work similarly offers social commentary and bypasses theaters and galleries—staged on the internet or alternative spaces.
My theater work is informed by my site specific performance sensibilities. In my theater work, I challenge my relationship as a performer to my audience. I also confront the expectations of my genre and my subject matter within the work. My stage performance work differs from the Eurocentric theater traditions of 19th/ 20th Century American Realism where actors apply “realistic” emotions to pre-written scripts. I see my “characters” as archetypal extensions of my own persona. I almost always break the fourth wall and let my audiences inform the direction of the show. My creation process is very organic. Some of my shows are living ritual exercises with the audience. I find that pre-scripting my work line-by-line at my computer and then rehearsing emotion into those lines is a very confining process. I prefer to generate lists of ideas and doodles, talk them out with trusted collaborators, improvise with a mix of media during rehearsals and then string up the best moments in a logical (or illogically logical) order for public performance. Some of my scripts actually look like a set list that a stand-up comic would use.
POINT OF VIEW
I believe that artists, activists, and people interested in questioning the world are always working through one of the five stages of the grief cycle (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). Considering the recent state of the world, there is an understandable excess of work created out of anger, bargaining or depression. And then there are the artists who create work from denial (“post race” or “post post modern” work arguably falls into this category– and more power to them for being so hip). I wish I could say that I create from the most “evolved” stage of grief (acceptance). However, I wouldn’t create the work I do if my subject matter didn’t initiate a reaction of denial, reactive anger, or urge to re-enact my oppression. If I am not yet at “acceptance” when creating, I create my performances pretending that I am powerful and oppressive, then I heap on the self-deprecating humor.
My latest endeavor is writing impossible (and sometimes horribly offensive) proposals for performance projects that I have no idea how to creatively execute. If the proposal is turned down, I have at least articulated the blueprint for the impossible. If the proposal is accepted, I must take on the challenge of bringing the invisible to life.