[ RESEARCH STATEMENT ]
My research and artistic practice is centered around open source computer code, electronic sensor based systems, consumer/maker based tools, social media data, and the reconstruction and misuse of already existing materials (hacking) to produce sculptural and installation based structures and work. Using the aforementioned as tools and material, I produce works that blur the lines between various conceptual and theoretical issues involving the natural world and its inhabitants as collaborators. My work has an unremitting approach to exploring the perspective and awareness of the other, exploitation of human and pest driven systems, animal psychology, and colloquial approaches to scientific experiments. I am currently most interested in the translation of materials and the use of open source software that is produced for consumer consumption. My current work utilizes cell phones and free modeling software to question the sometimes gauche nature in which computational information is translated from machine to computer to human and finally resulting in a physical object. In my latest work I am interested in material translation from objects that are born out of the natural world and are translated into to computerized data and finally re-translation by both human hand and machine back into a representational object referencing the original material form from birth. While interested in open source software and how it can translate our daily observations, I also consider the rate at which common tools such as the cell phone have allowed humans to become pest-like voracious passive consumers.
Prior to my most current research and practice interests, I have been interested in unpacking the implications and use of the term “pest” while also studying systems and creatures that we as humans label as pests. In previous works, I am interested in the definition of the term “pest” (as defined by humans): A destructive insect or animal that attacks crops, food, livestock, and other resources etc. Informal, an annoying person or thing – a nuisance. In our current world, I have proposed and completed many installations that discuss the notions of the human being the most expansive, destructive, and widely networked species pest on the planet. I arrived at projects exploring the afforementioned through creating works and systematic installations that explored the perspective and devices for allowing humans to see as the other. After creating these works I became interested in exploring the position of humans from imagined perspectives of the other and creating systems that forced humans to question their position in relation within the natural (non human formed) societal structures in which we exist.
In other projects, Partnered: We Are All Pests, Host, How Will We Build, and Around We Go (DFW), I have explored the idea of the human pest metaphorically and physically through (uninvited) collaboration with various pests, most notably termites. Because termites are a super-organism, they have social and living structures similar to our own. They are able to communicate through vibration and pheromones, allowing for an infinitely massive and always growing networked society. While insects use these natural phenomena to communicate, form armies, care for their colonies, protect themselves, harvest, and build their superstructure societies, humans also have their own form of a pheromone system that is also capable of reaching all around the globe. In the same way that a termite is able to sense a signal through their synaptic network, humans are able to do this through social networking.
More recently I have explored the notion of the human pest and the idea of an expansive and collective global mind through a research project titled Tweet Roach (2012) Beta Version I which currently remains in its infancy (http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-12/31/twitter-controlled-cockroach) This research based piece allows humans to use their connectedness through Twitter to send micro-stimulation pulses to literally influence the movements of an often deemed “lowly” cockroach albeit collectively through hash-tagging and toping trends that are sorted via computer code. As a collective map of a metaphorical “social brain” as well as a very real global mind / interest set, Twitter has become of extreme interest to me and my current practice as an artist and researcher. I am interested in approaching Twitter data both as an ever evolving data map of the collective pest mind of the cyborgian techno-plagued human.
While simultaneously continuing this research alongside newer bodies of work, I was chosen as one of 25 researchers from around the world to participate in the international Arctic Circle Residency program during the Summer Solstice Exhibition beginning in June of 2014. The Arctic Circle Residency program is a unique and highly competitive annual expeditionary residency program that brings together international artists of all disciplines scientists, architects, and educators who collectively explore remote and fascinating destinations aboard a specially outfitted sailing vessel traveling around Svalbard, a mountainous Arctic archipelago located 10 degrees from the North Pole. The Arctic Circle Provided a shared experience for its participants to issues relevant to our time and to develop professionally through interdisciplinary collaborations, exhibit opportunities, and public and classroom engagement.
The research that I explored on this expedition is also situated within my current body of work involving Twitter as a material and data source and the translations of material. While continuing to think about the human as the world’s most expansive species of pest, I think about the human pest sculpting the earth physically, socially, and rhythmically through social networking and Twitter while consuming and observing visually through mobile devices.