Eliciting empathy is the focus. This is done through anthropomorphizing familiar objects by making them move and giving them a struggle. These objects are set in surreal scenes with other defamiliarized objects to create a possibility of a narrative that never quite completes eliciting the viewer to stay a little longer in hopes for them to find joy with the uncertainty.
I make dumb things move. Move to give them purpose, move to make me feel, move to keep things whole. I want people to empathize with these dumb things hobbled together barely holding on, trying so desperately to grasp, to catch the fleeting.
It starts by transferring feelings and questions into familiar objects (clock, refrigerator, walker…) and then the objects transform themselves into a struggle of their own in their world. They have an action, a task, which creates an illusion of a goal. But this goal can never be reached. This elicits empathy. I want to help them, but I don’t know how. This anthropomorphizing shifts my perspective from my world to their world, enabling a better focus and insight into what the work is about and also my feelings and questions.
The “goal” these objects are gesturing towards are also present in the installation and composition. It is another object that feelings have been transferred into and again they transform the feelings into their own emotional expression. These objects are also familiar (peanut butter jars, ball of yarn, a winter jacket) but made unfamiliar by their transformation and become vague and mysterious.
The anthropomorphized objects lure the viewer in while the defamiliarized objects keep them there. The mystery of the familiar unfamiliar is a way to make the viewer question their perspective and stay. The two together create an impression of a story but it also continuously puzzles, there being so many signifiers and paths to pursue.
I see the multitude of possibilities as how the world feels today. It’s a world where everything is possible and not at the same time. It’s a nonsensical world I never quite feel settled in or know how to navigate. But if I can somehow sit with this unsettling uncomfortableness, I hope to find my story.
My ultimate goal is to create a space that elicits wonder, a space that can intrigue people enough to try to figure out a narrative presented with all the latent signifiers there to trigger memories and feelings in order to, eventually, for them to give up and just stay awhile, and realizing perhaps that our memories and narratives we hold and protect can be written differently, and perhaps there is some sense of hope that we can write of a different kind of future. And at that moment I want the viewer, the seer to feel seen. Not seen in just a visual way but really seen, understood, and perhaps felt.