I frequently describe my art as boring.
This is not meant to be self-deprecating; it is an acknowledgement that my work is about paying attention to seemingly unspectacular things: things that often unfold or buildup through space and time. I see time as an active element that affects our perceptions and relationships, which is why as an artist I am often drawn to time-based media, series, and installation. I am interested in what happens when you listen to breathing or stare at the drops of water accumulating on the lens of a camera.
While I have always been drawn to ordinary and mundane things, as an artist I am equally invested in the systems and sociopolitical spheres that ordinary events, things, spaces, and people are attached to. In her book, Ordinary Affects Kathleen Stewart makes a case for paying attention to the miniscule, the momentary, the sensorial, and the scene. She writes, “Something throws itself together in a moment as an event and a sensation; a something both animated and inhabitable.” Art can be a place where something is thrown together but also a way to amplify what otherwise might be overlooked: puncture the familiar, or dwell in the fragment. For me, aesthetics is not just about beauty. The aesthetic experience of an artwork can stimulate contemplation and disrupt common ways of sensing, being, and thinking. According to contemporary philosopher Jacques Rancière, the distribution of the sensible—the partitioning of the say-able and the seeable—is a matter of both aesthetics and politics.
My approach to art has been informed by the notion that a simple act—such as turning the volume up, removing a blind, or occupying a barred space—is in fact doing something. The work of filmmakers and artists have been influential to the development of my artistic practice. For example, the films of James Benning and Chantal Ackerman have contributed to the way I approach and conceptualize moving images. Directed at industrial, urban, geopolitical, and domestic space these filmmakers offer a subtle, contemplative, and attentive treatment of film, which speaks to my interest in the everyday.
As an interdisciplinary artist who works in video, installation, sound, and print, my practice has also been informed by artists such as Yto Barrada and Francis Alÿs. Barrada’s visually compelling and socio-politically aware photographs and short films, which present an experimental approach to documentary, have been valuable for my handling of media. Francis Alÿs provides a model for artistic intervention that invests in the relationality of aesthetics and politics. As an artist, I return—again, and again—to his statement, “Sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can become poetic.” For me, Alÿs’s statement links back to Stewart’s ordinary affects and Rancière’s distribution of the sensible in a way that affirms that art and seemingly insignificant things can, and do, matter.