My work oscillates between fiction and documentation, reinterprets personal stories and reimagines everyday realities through staging, improvisation and iteration. I examine the very nature of our own constructed realities, the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we identify with and explore the way we relate to others. In my work I aim to bring to light a shared humanity, often through humor and play. Within a participatory framework, I create work by engaging with specific people and communities.
My practice is driven by my endless fascination with people. I collect personal stories and create shared experiences that form the basis of my work. Fostering relationships with my participants is an essential part of my practice. There is no formula or method when it comes to establishing these relationships. It is a process of mutual give and take, a process of sharing, of being aware. The framework of my projects sets the parameters for these encounters and forms the starting point for a conversation. Every project has its own set of considerations, depending on the subject matter I want to address and the community I would like to engage. Questions arise in response to a given situation (the death of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in #thisistomorrow), a community, (exploring notions of happiness in the Edgewater neighborhood in Not in Another Place, But This Place…(Happiness)) or site, (producing a soap opera about the museum staff and visitors of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in On Our Way to Tomorrow). I hope that because my projects are articulated through a dialogue with my participants and through a collective process, the final work will continue to ask questions of how we are all connected and point to how we are all engaged in this creative endeavor called being human.
My video – performance and photo works often contain both highly staged and documentary material ranging from intimate day-to-day moments, to hand crafted imagery that takes the form of sets. Responding to a given situation and surroundings, I create sets on site, working with the architecture and materials at hand. Narrative and set inform each other. Rather than work with a fully prescribed script, I ask my subjects to perform a set of actions. Allowing them to make autonomous choices and bring their own interpretation of their roles to the piece. Through this process I create a space for play where the relationship between imagination and reality, between performance and authenticity is emphasized. Play as site for vulnerability and risk-taking, empathy and as a space for alternative modes of representation. For me it means that in my practice those who partake can participate in their own representation. My actors are active participants in the work. They provide the material for a script, they inspire the props, they reinterpret my instructions and they embody the humanity I am looking for. From the first conversation to the final edit, in all stages of production I reflect on how ideas of connectivity, belonging and our shared humanity shape my work and inform the way in which we live our lives today.