My video and photographic works address the effects of crime, traumatic personal events, and architectural containments on the human psyche. By dissecting the victim-perpetrator dichotomy as well as the impact of imprisonment, whether it is in a jail, asylum, home, or mind, I aim to create unconventional dialogues about these topics. My works are based on personal experiences, which I use to explore these larger political, social, and psychological issues on an intimate level.
My interest in these issues sparked a series of research and artistic endeavors causing me to probe into the psyche of the “other” as well as deeper into my own psyche. My works draw deep inspiration from the Kirkbride Plan for State Mental Institutions as well as the stigma behind mental disorders. These works are based on psychological case studies from the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, which is the most widely used psychometric test of personality and psychopathology. I also utilize the floor plans of the Kirkbride buildings to arrange my videos into grid-like formats. Additionally, I use performance and audio compositions to explore these spaces further. I also explore personal loss and trauma through video and installation, and make parallels between these experiences. These multimedia works revolve around the theme of bringing back to life, while the afterlife is still looming near. I utilize various metaphors with red threads through projection, embroidery, and video as well as documentation images and artifacts. The overarching theme is how red thread can be seen as a link between humans, but also as a metaphor for loss and the longing for connection.
My most recent body of work focuses on Luci Cook, who is the recipient of three heart transplants, at ages 11, 23, and 28. She is now 31, finishing college and has a fear of wasting time since she is not a candidate for a fourth heart transplant. Conversation about the trauma and PTSD involved with transplants is seen as taboo, and she has been told numerous times that she should just be grateful to be alive. Through direct collaboration with Luci, I aim for these works to create room to discuss these issues and provide Luci the ability to reclaim her traumatizing hospital experiences. She also describes how each donor’s heart feels different and has a different personality depending on the donor, which is explored in the film Luci: The Girl with Three Hearts. This film is divided into three sections, one for each donor, and visually reflects the feeling and location of each heart. In The Intruders, a series of hospital masks are embroidered with spewing red thread that trails from the mouth, represent a longing for connection to the outside world during isolation, but also a reclamation of the trauma of the unidentified mask during procedures. The red thread resembles the multiple pick lines that physicians would place in her, but there was rarely verbal communication. By removing their masks and kissing them on the forehead, she is reclaiming the traumatizing medical experiences as well as forming a personal connection. Through this research, I am able to see direct results with the participants and myself through the power of storytelling and art; mediums that I also use to process my own traumas.