Research Narrative:

Institutional facts and their purposes are the basis of my work. Questions regarding sociocultural and human-invented systems have informed an in-depth visual investigation into chaotic social constructs. I visualize the opaque web of system structures at play in the foundation of societal paradigms and human interaction. These socially constructed institutions are inherently interwoven and consequently difficult to isolate, measure, define, and quantify. These institutions range in scope and prevalence; systems of language, economy, and networks help build and form a basis for a shared assumption about reality. 

Proving thought is challenging as there is limited science for how one creates thought, yet we all think and therefore are. Collecting evidence of thought is sticky; it is never quite complete proof but rather secondary or tertiary evidence. My practice constantly asks me to stretch a hand into a jar of data only to pull it out and see what sticks. This liminal space between perception and understanding is the space I visualize. Each work contains a thematic focus, and I extract data from direct or relatable material. The material’s visual relationship with its source has remained an innate structure since modernism. Cascading this visual information on top of itself and folding its linked data from physical locations and peripheral materials provides a fuller visual context for these conversations. Data is extrapolated into layered abstractions of diagrams, maps, blueprints, and binary system aesthetics into a variety of line work, grid structures, and repeated organic and geometric shapes. Raw data can be seen in the work as larger abstracted forms; lines of code turn into large or small bar shapes. Opacity and transparency move rapidly through the space, taking a ghost like quality. The grid is used as an illusion of structure, a machine-like force to help control the information. Physical materials include the use of diatomaceous earth, cellophane, wire, and plastic; material sourced from the packaging, transmitting, or sharing of data from these spaces. By overlapping and repeating these forms the information turns into a large conversation and composition; its reference point becomes larger than its sum parts encompassing the elusive quality of the subject matter I am investigating.

I assemble data to substantiate the presence of mental self and the physicality of the body in the same space and place. I accomplish this through everyday banks of information: emails or junk folders, pop-up ads, Google image searches, news clips, Amazon reviews, HTML code, and Reddit threads. The action of data collecting serves as not only a reference tool and starting place for my work, but as metaphorical conception of the social mind. The data manifests itself in the form of abstract shapes, lines, forms, and color onto the paper or panel. The action of pen to paper and brush to canvas echoes mind-body dualism, to gesture the back and forth between mental contemplation and the output of these thoughts in the physical world is a critical action. Measuring the mind-body relation means I must develop this experience through sticky evidence to substantiate its form.

The metaphor of the Ghost in the Machine critiques Cartesian dualism, an idea popularized by Gilbert Ryle. The metaphor continues in The Ghost in the Machine, a popular anime film.  The protagonist is an android struggling with understanding her own consciousness and existence in an increasingly data-exploited world. The work shifted with these metaphorical and philosophical conflations. The inherently distanced subject of my work often pushes personal identity away. I employ ethnographic reflection and narrative elements to reveal my personal role in the work. Narrative exploration and metaphorical gestures engage the audience in familiar modality providing access into more abstract aspects of my work. I often use narrative devices to engage with abstract issues of thought and perception. Much like Motoko I search for place and purpose by investigating the world’s relationship to people and their surroundings, our abuse of these networks, and the interconnection we participate in creating.

Applying everyday banks of information call attention to the intimacy and a domesticity to networks and data, adding a rich archive of voices and thoughts capturing a larger global community and social climate. Domesticity is within the nature of networks themselves, appearing as familiar every day banal systems of interaction. Data is an object for use and domestication, exploited by the home. By harnessing these everyday banks of information, I translate and gather a truthful representation of thought, exchange, and conversations in a space. My audience becomes closed off to the work; I use space and form to make the audience feel like a spectator, and specter.