“Despite its growing scarcity and preciousness to life, ironically, water is also man’s most misgoverned, inefficiently allocated and profligately wasted natural resource.”
― Steven Solomon, Water: the epic struggle for wealth, power and civilization
I let the water run. While doing dishes. While brushing my teeth. While standing in the shower on those dark, cold early mornings. I turn the faucet on and off. On and off. There isn’t a lot of thought that goes into this movement. It’s part of a larger, sleepy, domesticated choreography, like putting keys in my pocket, pulling socks over my feet or opening the refrigerator door. I barely notice asking my hands to do the turning on and off. Yet it's nourishing me. It’s cleaning me, feeding me, hydrating me. These little actions I barely pay attention to are a large part of why I exist, why everything exists. So, for the month of April I chose to focus. Every time I turned the faucet on, I made a note of it. The water I used was measured, logged and photographed. Concurrent to logging my water usage, I placed ten yellow buckets outside to catch rain water. It was my hope to slowly replenish a water supply I too quickly depleted.
Process Mundane is an ongoing series of emails designed to help those who face daily drudgery take a more microscopic look at their drudge. Gleaning inspiration from self help evangelism, Allan Kaprow and Alan Watts, Process Mundane takes a deeper look into the roots of monotonous tasks, evaluates each task, and offers people alternative ways of performing each task. The end goal for Process Mundane is to give a sense of play and creativity to the particularly lackluster moments most people tend to forget about.
This project originally began as a motivational seminar first performed at the 2012 Open Engagement Conference.
A collection of my dreams and the images I've Googled from them
An exploration of my own physicality through the eyes and algorithms of Google.
Click on the images to see them larger.
Internal Server Error ran from June 15th through August 3rd 2013 at Place White Gallery.
I bought my first computer - an orange I Mac - in 1999 after deciding I needed one to finish college. All papers for my first few years of college were meticulously typed on a thrift store Olivetti despite my professors' disapproval. I wasn't anti-technology per se, I just didn't feel like I needed to have a computer in my life. I had an email address that my boyfriend at the time set up for me so I could keep in touch with people during our travels. For the first couple of years I checked my email maybe once a week. I wasn't part of the cell phone revolution until later than most people, and only succumbed after I was required to get one for work. And so it began. The incessant checking of email and flurry of text and email messages from crazed bosses, friends, lovers, family and strangers I'd found on the internet. I became fascinated by the web (and still am). It became a tool for my practice (and still is) and scratched my itching curiosity about the world and all its foibles (and still does). My connectedness to people and a wealth of information on the internet grew and grew and grew and keeps growing today.
I met my husband through the internet. So technically, my daughter is a child of the internet. A majority of my jobs have been discovered through the internet. Most of the homes I've lived in as an adult have been found through the internet as well as all of the roommates I've lived with. The web is convenient, probably one of the most convenient tools out there. I can Skype with friends and family around the world, find an answer to a simple question in a matter of seconds, share information, read articles that may have never been published and watch videos of creatures doing things I probably shouldn't discuss here. There have been revolutionary moments on Facebook for social and political causes. I have connected and reconnected with fantastic people because of social media. Despite all of this, there is a heavy undertone of emptiness and disconnectedness in my particular web experience because of the way I've been using it.
Internal Server Error is an intensive survey of my personal web usage. In A Short History of a Browser, I hand-drafted my daily web history every night for the month of April. For this project I wanted to absorb what I was perusing on a daily basis and writing down each place I'd meandered to online somehow connected me back to those moments I would have otherwise forgotten. This experiment also gave me an opportunity to practice writing by hand, something I used to do much more frequently.
For Offline, I compiled dictionaries, encyclopedias, phone books, notebooks, user manuals, old letters, junk mail, maps, mixed tapes, manuals, take out menus, photos, paper bills, and post-it notes to create a tactile version of my internet usage. This piece is very much a homage to paper and all things analogue.
A plethora of questions came up for me in this process: How have I changed since I started using the web? How has my communication with others shifted? How has my body adapted to sitting for long periods of time or looking down at a cell phone screen? How am I retaining information that I read on the web as opposed to reading printed matter? How much time am I spending on the web and what am I looking at? What sites do I visit more frequently and why am I drawn to visiting them? What is it that draws me to Facebook and other forms of social media? Is it curiosity or ego? Most importantly I ask myself, how I can use the internet more mindfully?
There has been a huge influx of graphic inspirational and literary quotes peppering the interweb in the last couple of years. Check out an example of what it is I'm referring to HERE.
In response to this, I'm experimenting with mundane phrases to explore whether or not the words will have more significance when graphic elements are added to the text.
This is an ongoing project.
Pulling color from the unexpected
Stand up. Open the door. Go outside.
Paper collage (happenstance)
My part of a stellar group show (Five) June 18th through August 14th 2011 at PLACE PDX
From outside it's glass doors, De-consume was set up to mirror a high end boutique, yet its interior exhibited objects, smells and actions not usually found in stores. Glass containers filled with mud, hair, junk mail, pebbles, old underwear, chicken, goat feces, styrofoam, dust, plastic lids, moss, and other disposable or compostable goods sat upon shelves. Anatomically correct nude suits (two female and two male) hung from a wardrobe rack. Small jars containing an array of found tinctures sat on display ready to be sniffed akin to a perfume counter at a department store. Non-verbal sounds such as coughing, sighing, breathing, yowling, belching, and digesting could be absorbed through a pair of headphones.
Along with the installation, there were three store events:
1. A simple meal (a raw - and freshly plucked from an organic garden - finger feast) Pictures to the right.
2. Sniffing booth - where willing participants sniff me as I sniff them - is an ongoing olfactory project that was incorporated into the De-Consume show. You can read more about Sniffing Booth HERE.
3. Mud roll (My 7 months pregnant ass and other participants rolled/played around in mud). Pictures and video to the right.
A temporary (and no longer available) website for this piece was designed to run in tandem with the exhibit.
One fatigued day I was doing my dishes and I said to myself I could really use some backup. I envisioned three lovely ladies singing to me while I carried out the more mundane chores in life. They would act as subliminal cheerleaders rooting me on, hurrah hurrah! Later I decided it would be appropriate to reenact this fantasy. I hired three anonymous craigslist backup singers/strangers who eventually accompanied me to the local grocery store with wigs and apparel of their choosing. I provided them each with fifty dollars and a list of groceries they would collectively sing to me. Sing they did. Foodstuff I procured.
A year later I found three more backup singers to back me up while I did a single load of laundry at the laundromat. This time, I chose the outfits and the wigs, and we even had a couple of rehearsals. On the day of the performance, one of my trusty backups singers accidentally disappeared, so I had to take on the role of backup singer number three and hire couple of friends to do their laundry. We sung and sweat and spun on laundry carts, we stomped our feet and shimmied for 46 minutes straight. It was an enlightening and partially shamanistic laundry experience, one I certainly will not forget.
Another year or so later, I hired three more backup singers to accompany me through rush hour traffic. The night was dark and drizzly and the traffic slow moving - perfectly miserable and mundane conditions for soulful backup.
One year later and nine months pregnant, I hired three more singers to sing to me while doing domestic chores around the house.
An intriguing and often shameless nasal curiosity, sniffing makes us more familiar with one and other. In this ongoing project, I invite strangers to smell me as I smell them, to push their personal boundaries, to break social taboos and to explore their inner animal. All sniffing begins with left and right elbows and armpits, wrists, hands, knees, feet, and ends with necks and heads. These particular parts were chosen based on their unique odor and functionality. Participant's noses are photographed for simplistic documentation and sniffing logs chart the reaction of each sniffer. Here are some pictures and logged responses.
Soul Recovery Systems is a free emotional garbage disposal service providing people with an opportunity to rid themselves of objects and energies that hinder their lives.
On May 24th, 2009, in the incomparable city of Danang, I married the girl of my dreams...myself. Accompanying me on this special day of self adoration and love, were three of the loveliest backup singers to grace the earth, Stella, Amanda, and Karen. Here are images from my quintessentially Vietnamese wedding album:
Sounds by me. Sounds by others sung by me. Sounds of sounds.
Most sounds recorded on cheap equipment and in unusual settings.
If you would like me to cover a song, send me a note and I'll pop it on the request list.
The web is a treasure chest. Type a few magical words into google, and presto, you have a vast collection of intrigue to ogle.
There are spaces I have gone (vacant buildings, empty closets, trunks, the undersides of beds, etc.) to explore different methods of existence. Sitting inside a closet for an hour, lying under a bed for two hours, standing in a specific room or in front of a window for four hours, or wearing something I normally would not wear, enables me to embody a space, light, and human reactions in each space, microscopically. These photos were taken during each exploration. These pictures are less about capturing the aesthetic of my experiences, but more about documenting some more unique presences both physically and emotionally.
Some of the beds I've slept in over the last few years.
Collaborative paintings between myself and my main squeeze MTH.
Scenes from the infamous Jersey Shore. August 2009 ©ff
My main squeeze and I celebrated our marriage by creating naked pinata versions of ourselves, stuffing them with things relating to our past, (dirt, flowers, pork and beans, ramen noodles, wine, beer, dollars, and sparkle) blindfolding each other, and busting them open with sturdy sticks. But before the turmoil began, we allowed our pinata selves to get down and dirty - mammal style.
A self portrait series exploring the emotional relation(s), response(s), and reaction(s) to myself.
A well-traveled hair piece.
three things I have found on the ground in one day's time.
When I lived in Vietnam, I was taken aback by the homogeneous aesthetic. All the signs looked the same, shoes, business cards, furniture, flowers, glasses, etc... Coming from America - the land of eyecandy - I was disenchanted by the communistic and lackluster design sensibility, and craved...more.
Over time, I began to appreciate the simplicity of everything looking the same, and felt my brain slowly acclimate (and consequently create more space for other things) to fewer options. Here are some of my own documentations of some quintessentially Vietnamese "same same" objects.
Portraits of myself and others eating and drinking.
These are 5 out of 100 faux business cards I have handed out to strangers.
Most were complimentary, and some (depending on the stranger) were rude.
Here I assessed and documented my emotional state each day for one week.
A performative book about toxicity and nourishment. If you are interested in seeing the book in its entirety, please email me.
Tiny drawings (2 inches by 2 inches) of fat people.
Forecast, with Vanessa Connelly, is a tongue and cheek satire about global warming.
Sisyphus Plus is an ongoing interactive performance piece I initially conceptualized to raise hunger awareness nationwide.
So far the ball has been pushed through parts of NYC, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. Soon a few comrades and I will be conquering the skinny part of Idaho too.