Artist Statement

ENERGY AS FORM; CONNECTION AS MATERIAL

Two small copper pipes hammered into the center of Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty: one positively charged, the other negatively charged. A low-voltage current runs between the two, freeing copper ions and collecting sodium and chlorine, creating a crusty blue-green patina on one pipe as the other slowly blackens and weakens. Snow has accumulated on the basalt rocks of Spiral Jetty, and the air is so still you can hear the faint hiss and crackle of bubbles bursting as electricity reacts with salt and copper and water.

From the distillation of algal biodiesel, to the extraction of a geologic core sample with a set of gardening tools, to the imagined fabrication of fiber optic infrastructures, I am an artist who explores connection as material and energy as form. I research and recreate industrial systems and scientific processes to become intimately familiar with the plant and mineral elements that we extract, concentrate and metabolize to fuel our highly synthesized and ever-accelerating world. Water, algae, oil, petroleum, bitumen, carbon, silicon, salt, wood, clay, fat, switchgrass, fiberglass, copper, steel, honey, plastic.

When tracing the often incoherent outlines of these materials – matter condensed, concentrated, commodified, and put into transit across vast geographies and histories – I am struck by a world that appears increasingly malleable with each new tool we manufacture and technology we develop. I want to find the spaces where this perceived plasticity breaks, and where the virtual becomes fragile and physical: the places where the sun's UV rays agitate and embrittle polyethylene bonds; the chambers where atmospheric gases are collected and recorded; the sites where the digital world's dependence on natural resources and human labor is revealed. I want to sniff out the moments where the pre-baked system falls apart. I want to feel where the infrastructural joinery is weak, searching for the cracks in the mortar and the gaps in the cables that allow for the insertion of new conduits and strange loops. There is risk involved in in exposing vulnerabilities, and in being vulnerable: to encounter, to exchange and to unexpected reaction.

 


Reading List (in-progress, listed chronologically by date of publication):

The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist RuinsAnna Lowenhaupt Tsing. 2015.

In the Aura of a Hole. A. Laurie Palmer. 2015.

Six Theses on Anxiety and Why It is Effectively Preventing Militancy, and One Possible Strategy for Overcoming It. The Institute for Precarious Consciousness. 2014.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate. Naomi Klein. 2014.

"Elegy for a Country's Seasons." Zadie Smith. 2014.

CookieJan Verwoert. 2014.

Extrastatecraft: the Power of Infrastructure Space. Keller Easterling. 2014.

The Wretched of the ScreenHito Steyerl. 2013.

HyperobjectsTimothy Morton. 2013.

Making: Anthropology, Archeology, Art and Architecture. Tim Ingold. 2013.

Joy”, The New York Review of Books. Zadie Smith. 2013.

“threewalls artist talk on the occasion of her solo exhibition Still, yet, else, further, again”. A. Laurie Palmer. 2012.

Notes from Underground. Claire Pentecost. 2012.

Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character. Jack Hitt. 2012.

Simon Starling. Dieter Roelstraete, Francesco Manacorda and Janet Harbord. 2012. 

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. Adam Curtis. 2011

“The Center of the World and Other Points of Interest”, Cabinet, Issue 41. James Trainor. 2011.

Bubbles: Spheres I. Peter Sloterdijk. 2011.

New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics. Ed. Diana Coole and Samantha Frost. 2010.

Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Jane Bennett. 2010.

Quantum Entanglements and Hauntological Realtions of Inheritance:  Dis/continuities, SpaceTime Enfoldings, and Justice-to-Come”, Derrida Today 3.2. Karen Barad. 2010.

A Variation on the Powers of Ten. FutureFarmers. 2010.

Chance. Ed. Margaret Iversen (Documents of Contemporary Art). 2010.

Failure. Ed. Lisa Le Feuvre (Documents of Contemporary Art). 2010.

Under Lime: Simon Starling. 2009.

The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art. Eileen Myles. 2009.  

Algae: Second Edition. Linda E. Graham, James M. Graham, Lee W. Wilcox, 2009.

Felt: Fluxus, Joseph Beuys and the Dalai Lama. Chris Thompson. 2009.

The Craftsman. Richard Sennett. 2009.

Exhaustion & Exuberance. Jan Verwoert. 2008

On Location: Siting Robert Smithson and His Contemporaries. Simon Dell. 2008.

The Age of Wonder. Richard Holmes. 2008.

Meeting the Universe Halfway. Karen Barad. 2007.

The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2. Jane Poynter. 2006.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Rebecca Solnit. 2005.

Mycelium Running. Paul Stamets. 2005.

3 Acres on the Lake: DuSable Park Proposal Project. Laurie Palmer, Patricia Phillips, Christopher Robert Reed. 2003.

The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings and Ethics. Jane Bennett. 2001.

Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Bruno Latour. 1999.

The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution. Frank White. 1998.

Landscape and Memory. Simon Shama. 1995.

Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. William Cronon. 1991.

What Is Art?: Conversations with Joseph Beuys. Joseph Beuys and Harlan Volker. 1986/2004.

A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. 1987. 

Critical Path. R. Buckminster Fuller. 1981. 

Joseph Beuys. Caroline Tisdale. 1979.

How to Build Your Own Living Structures. Ken Isaacs. 1974.

Nine Chains to the Moon. R. Buckminster Fuller. 1971. 

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Annie Dillard. 1971.

The Last Whole Earth Catalog. 1971.

Whole Earth Catalog. 1969.

Douglas Huebler. Seth Siegelaub. 1968.

Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. R. Buckminster Fuller. 1968.

The Drought. J.G. Ballard. 1965.

Cosmicomics. Italo Calvino. 1965.

Mythologies. Roland Barthes. 1957.

The Biosphere. Vladamir Vernadsky. 1926.

Bouvard and Pècuchet. Gustave Flaubert. 1881.

Walden: Or Life in the Wood. Henry David Thoreau. 1854.