For the 2018 Art in Odd Places BODY public art festival and exhibition at Westbeth Gallery in New York City, I performed Bruce Nauman’s “Body Pressure” (1974) on a bus stop wall. “re/touch” was an experiment, an invitation to connect, and a response to the isolating impacts of capitalism on the city’s body. I reassembled Nauman’s instructions into a poem and paired fragments from that poem with small documentary photographs, legible when standing close to the gallery wall.
Today I Saw
Inspired by Gertrude Stein’s poem “What Do I See,” this installation at the Milton Art Bank combined sound, text, video, and social practice to re-imagine the town of Milton, Pennsylvania, through the lenses of its residents and in relation to a “foreign currency” of sounds and sights. “Today I Saw” created an archive of sights seen in Milton and put the town in a global context, bringing descriptions of local sights into contact with two other sources: a video of a farmer spraying fields in Italy, and an audio recording of bombs dropping in Syria, hidden inside a deposit box. A sound collage of people describing things seen in town played continuously in the gallery. Throughout the exhibition, visitors could “deposit” their own site-specific sights, contributing to the archive.
Light On Sound
A collaboration with Jessica Houston, this installation reactivated the historic Lewis H. Latimer House Museum and surrounding neighborhood of Flushing, Queens, with the voices of community members reading poems. The work commemorated Lewis H. Latimer, poet and inventor of the filament for the incandescent light bulb. Poems could be turned on through light and called up with a cell phone. The poems filling the Latimer House and extending into the neighborhood were generated, recited, and shared by the public. This project was funded by the Historic House Trust of New York City's Contemporary Art Partnerships Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the NYC Department of Transportation.
Out of Lezley
bloom the faces of the dead, and this elegy already fails—falls to the street. What can a mother say to a mother who lost her son, twice, four times—six bullets in his body, his chest filled with holes? From Nebraska, I call my mother to hear how my daughter loves but does not need her doll, a dark-skinned boy who smells of cookies & cream, how she arranges the shampoo bottles on a shelf by herself and smears this morning’s yogurt across the tray. My daughter kisses her doll, calls him baby, oblivious to the fact that were he a real boy who will not shut his eyes when made to lie down, well then. Then what would we say of the difference between love and need? Out of wood the faces persist—one color bleeds into the next, and the ones held in the air, hold us.