My roots spread across the Earth. My fingerprints caress every community's embrace; their residue like tiny poems begging to leave each place better than it was found. I come from a multicultural family—my mother is of Chinese ancestry, and my father is a mix of Anglo heritage. My parents met in Japan and my brother and I were both born there. I lived briefly in Shanghai, China, but I've spent most of my life wandering through various parts of the U.S. Wanderlust is my way of life.
I have experienced many privileges coming from a highly educated middle-class family. I was able to take college courses when I was 12 years old at the school where my father taught. I have been part of many incredible supportive communities that have been like family when I experienced intolerance from both my biological family and the public because I am queer and transgender. Experiencing prejudice awoke me to the many other oppressed groups that retain the label “non-normative” despite all together forming the global majority. I stay active in organizations that promote equality: women and gender, people of color, LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual), d/Deaf, and democratic socialist groups. These communities at each of the places I’ve lived and studied inspire my work.
I spend my days daydreaming about a more socially just world – a place where horizontal quality overcomes vertical hierarchy, abandoning our current systems of privilege and oppression. I am inspired by global protest movements including Occupy in its many incarnations, which intensify my desire to fight social stratification. Communicating idealist visions in our global community is easier than ever before through the internet and ease of travel. I'm interested in people's relationships with place and with each other through the lens of intersectionality, a feminist theory stating that a person's multiple modalities of identity are informed by privilege and oppression (i.e. race, class, gender, ability, mental health, sexual orientation, etc.) The identities of places on earth are defined in part by local culture, geology, architecture, ecology, and location. My propositions about the intersectionality of place draw from the social memory of a space to reconstruct cultural models within the context of Earth's environment. Common dreams and ghosts of cultural trauma inform my community organizing and gallery-ready art.
My utopian ideas might seem foolish in the context of art's elitist audience. Beyerbach and Davis# write, “A recent RAND study on arts learning and state policies... found that arts are experienced by a small, wealthy segment of the population that is aging.” It is disheartening to think that the communities that inspire my work are not the same people that my work attempts to communicate with. Art's insular community is not accessible to many disenfranchised populations, but perhaps taking both a top-down and bottom-up approach to visual dialogue through work meant for the white cube and social practice, respectively, creates a much larger dialectic. Interventionist art works best when ideas are spread across multiple media, including grassroots activism.
The ripples created by activism stay with each community as I move on to my next home. What I take with me are my belongings and my memories of that place. Like my time at a place, my studio practice is ephemeral. The installations I create exist in their designated space until they are deconstructed. My work is more about the viewer’s experience than material objects; using materials is a means to an end in communicating ideas. However, I struggle with the seemingly impenetrable dichotomy between community and the gallery. Both types of work seem to speak a different language, but I take strides to bridge that gap by capturing people and places that define my experience on film. Videos capture visual communication through time, adding an aspect to my installations that is not easily translatable to still imagery. These short films are displayed along with my installations. The dialog between the works reveals a deeper meaning to the experiences created by each.