My work attempts to study symbols and their contiguous and contentious meanings through ephemeral performance. Classifications based on types or categories through the theory of signs and symbols, question the function of meaning in both artificially constructed and natural languages as in semiotic theory. Malleable and shifting, is how I position formal relations between signs in abstraction from their signification and their interpreters (syntactics), the historical and psychological study and classification of linguistic development (semantics), and the relation between signs or linguistic expression and their interpreters (pragmatics). Through this approach, I theorize a Continuum of Meaning which traverses not only a normative scale from 0 to 100 (or, nothing to everything) but extends in both negative and positive directions infinitely. Contained suppositions, are that each symbol is assigned an arbitrary meaning, that each meaning represents an evolution of understandings, that each interpreter operates according to their own experience, all of which lead to an infinitude of definitions for any single term the interpreter may consider.
As an example of porous terms on the continuum and how they pertain to my practice, I approach the studio and performance spaces as those which I inhabit at any given moment. While there are central locations for planning such as my University of California, Davis Art Studio MFA program indoor studio and my personal living spaces, the works are operated in essentially mobile and transitory spaces. For Body, Element, Documentation, the studio space is on the Californian San Juan Ridge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at 3800-foot elevation. For Sunset Bubbles, the location requires humidity and wind and accessibility by a load-bearing vehicle. For the project Campfire, the location requires a gathering of people and food and fire-making supplies and may be held at any fire-safe location. For Concert Today, spaces are adjacent to the individual locations of worldwide friends and requires a performer and a simple, yet distinct announcement sign. And, Indo could only be an installation in my UCD studio as it was a response to the studio space. Each work may or may not be documented. Each work may or may not be observed. Each work may or may not exist per any traditional definition of the word.
Theorists and philosophers who influence my work are Hito Steyerl, Martha Nussbaum, Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Guy Debord, John Berger, Nato Thompson, T.J. Demos and others who address symbols and their contentious meaning. Artists who influence my work are Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, Eyal Weizman and Forensic Architecture, Renzo Martens, Trevor Paglen, Steve McQueen, Ecosexuals Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle and others who at their core address and put to task accepted mores of visual culture and capitalism and hypothesize a post-capitalist, post-totalitarianism future.
An example of a porous term on the continuum and an examination of how it pertains to the act of interpreters, one can take a simple object such as an apple held in a hand. Its signifier is the word “apple” and it brings into the mind of the interpreter an image, an idea of an object. I posit that it is worth our time to understand both the term and the object and how the relationship between the two has developed through the evolution of language and the evolution of human understanding. What color was the apple you saw? Was it red? What I am asking, is why did you see a red apple, a green apple, or otherwise. Why did you not see an orange? What was the shade the skin of the hand, the age of the hand? I seek to understand what happens when these questions are applied to such ideas as Christianity, to strike work, to climate change.
I was born to mobile people—a maternal Indo family who emigrated from Indonesia in the 1950s—repatriated by Dutch Queen Wilhelmina—and ultimately arrived in the US and mn Anglo-American paternal family that joined Stephen Austin in colonizing Texas in the early 1800s. I was an independent, co-dependent raconteur and roustabout long enough to idealize settling into home-making. Having a child in 2013 curtailed a multi-decade embroilment with beads and beadwork of teaching internationally and publishing three instructive books. After 2.5 years of nursing her, I became an academic artist in 2015. At University of California, Santa Cruz I completed a BA in Art (studio) and History of Art and Visual Culture with honors in 2018. I am currently a candidate to receive an MFA in Art Studio from University of California, Davis in Spring 2020.