Life’s Work

My work begins with collaborative social engagement projects, and reflects back on them through printed matter, films, and exhibitions. In an early project between 2005-2009, I rode a large tricycle around Manhattan, projecting 16mm Chaplin films on my back and inspiring spontaneous parades of viewers. In 2006-10, a collaborator and I organized 100 people to build a wooden boat, and utilized it for public actions, videos, and exhibitions about the misuse of local waterways and cities.

My current research involves wild foods, indigeneity, environmental justice, and decolonization. In 2017, I did a 26-mile Decolonization Walk performance counterclockwise around Boston’s Mission Church, mapping the influence of the church bells’ sound on the surrounding neighborhoods. I am in the midst of a long-term socially-engaged public art project about the collection and sharing of tree sap. The Tree Spa for Urban Forest Healing operates at Keney Park Sustainability Project, a Black-led urban farm within a city park in Hartford, CT. The steam produced by evaporating maple syrup is repurposed in a functional steam room. This situation brings people together for conversation, healing, and reconnection with the land, by immersion in the indigenous essence of the local forest, the steam of maple sap boiled on a wood fire.

In 2018, I began a new body of work producing darkly humorous short films, on location in contested political border zones. I call this series Experimental Research on the Nonexistence of Borders. In the videos, I perform as a field research scientist character, who is obstinately trying to prove that political borders do not actually exist. The first work is shot in the border zone between Armenia and Turkey, at the foot of Mount Ararat / Ağrı Dağı, and involves a comparative analysis of soil, flora, and fauna from both sides of a border fence.

Currently in production are two additional projects, situated at the U.S./Canada border, and the U.S./Mexico border. The northern border project will investigate border grey zones, ambiguous spaces where the two nations have overlapping claims, which serve as examples of transnational coexistence. The work will include a segment involving scuba diving amongst the lobsters in the grey zone around Machias Seal Island. Another scene is planned for a public library straddling the border between Vermont and Quebec, which is used as a meeting point for families restricted by the Trump Muslim travel ban. By contrast, the tense militarized atmosphere and humanitarian crisis unfolding at the southern border will be explored through a relationally antagonistic project involving homing pigeons carrying messages across the border being used for target practice. These projects will result in video works for a multi-channel installation, along with related objects, texts, and live performances, interrogating the national relationship of the U.S. to its two primary neighboring states.

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