As opposed to a struggling artist, I am an artist who struggles. I struggle with the depression associated with bipolar disorder (Type II) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and with the stigma associated with these mental illnesses.
Part of the difficulty in recovering from trauma is accepting the lack of agency one had during and after the traumatic experience. I deliberately plan and perform “accidents” in which no one is hurt and nothing terrible happens – my actions are no longer accidents, no longer completely beyond my control. I regain the ability to think, to shape events. The outcome is cathartic rather than traumatic, life-affirming rather than tragic. Whether the trauma is personal or political, physical or psychological, private or public, part of the trauma was being robbed of agency, and hence my performances, in their re-assertion of personal power, are political.
I make metaphoric crumple zones, the parts of a car’s body designed to absorb the massive energy caused by the impact of a crash. Like the engineering of a crumple zone, my works create a space to observe controlled deformation, rather than merely succumb to chaotic destruction. They explore ways to redirect and absorb the forces that threaten to crush us. I am interested in how human actions on objects represent how we treat ourselves internally and how we treat one another.