Place: Rice Media Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas
Dates: Install throughout August 2019, open early September 2019
Title: In/Between | A Rock and a Hard Place: Visions from the Ghost World of how to Survive One's Sovereignty of Self Destruction in a Land We Assumed We Once Knew.
PR Blurb (updated):
The Visual and Dramatic Arts department at Rice University is pleased to announce its first fall exhibition, In/Between | A Rock and a Hard Place: Visions from the Ghost World of how to Survive One's Sovereignty of Self Destruction in a Land We Assumed We Once Knew by Photography Lecturer Justin Raphael Roykovich. The opening reception will take place at the Rice Media Center Gallery on September 5, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Roykovich generally addresses one’s relationship to a site through time, connecting and documenting seen and un/seen occurrences. His work is about looking at those spaces as an InBetween site, one that is rapidly changing both socially and environmentally. While at these sites, he often experiences them through an adopted performance persona that he calls "The InBetween" - an extension of his physical self that moves through what we experience as reality. It explores that reality in a state that is neither here nor there as it slips, shuffles and slides through the curtain of "the real" that separates what we see in a physical life from the unseen mechanics that keep our universe spinning. This extension touches upon notions of the multiverse, the possible hidden dimensions left to be discovered in physics, the invisible yet palpable nature of dark matter, or even something as simple as gravity - invisible forces that make up and guide our lives that yet exist outside the realm of visibility. He therefore explores locations - both the geographic and the liminal - to expose and research how the layers of history, mythology and psychic scars of a site can affect the phenomenological intersections of current physical, mental and emotional experiences within that place and time. He utilizes photography, video, performance, installation and mark-making to explore these psychic environments of intersections, systems, networks and experiences, using himself as a queer-coded conduit.
In/Between | A Rock and a Hard Place specifically examines the unsettled time we live in as we experience social and cultural shifts through the natural world in ways that we cannot yet define. Included are explorations of localities out of time, caught in transition, landscapes that were and that will be still, yet have no current path to navigate. These sites become familiar yet foreign, questioning our ability to build identities on psychic anchors bound to a constantly moving, brittle terrain that humans as a species clumsily destroy as we try to remain upright. This re-mapping of psychic geography is a chance at a repositioning of cultural mindsets while dislocating obstacles that prohibited us from accurately and fairly surveying what we originally saw in the first place.
Prior to joining the Visual and Dramatic Arts (VADA) department at Rice, Roykovich spent a year at the Galveston Artist Residency, on Galveston Island, Texas from September of 2017 through August 2018. Galveston as a site is both a transient and enduring place: though the barrier island has been battered and literally washed away numerous times, its residents and its culture remain defiant of its natural watery adversary. His time spent there focused on the history of the island, the history of its people, the cycles of destruction and rebirth, preservation, deterioration and how the island itself is small microcosm of the challenges we will all face with impending climate change. One day quite soon, the Earth will reclaim that land, while we, as a global society, will experience a huge shift in the way we will live our lives even though we have yet to map out how to navigate that change.
Roykovich was heavily influenced by the lands connected to his familial lineage, as well as his own childhood: His biological father was born in Amityville, New York, site of the well-known house in which an alleged demonic possession and subsequent murder took place; his maternal grandmother was born and raised in Sleepy Hollow, New York - the location known for the folklore of Washington Irving, who embedded into the American psyche a pervasive and ghostly cultural identity with his Headless Horseman; he himself was born in Aurora, Colorado, the site that would become infamous for the 2012 movie theater shootings where 12 people died. He then grew up in Northern New Jersey, in a small, rural town that Weird New Jersey Magazine once coined the epicenter for "weirdness" in the entire state. His own childhood home was perceived as “haunted”, and he was seemingly predestined to involve himself in areas of the sublime & uncanny.
While Roykovich currently teaches digital and analog photography at Rice, he is a conceptual and research-based artist, working in and around New York, Washington D.C., Minneapolis and now Houston. He received his MFA in Visual Art from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2014 + his BFA in Art and Visual Technology, cum laude and with departmental honors, from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in 2011. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, where he was able to make site-specific work: The Woodstock Brydcliffe Guild, The Chatauqua Institution, The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia and in Venice, Italy at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica Venezia. His work has been shown across the United States and internationally.
In/Between | A Rock and a Hard Place: Visions from the Ghost World of how to Survive One's Sovereignty of Self Destruction in a Land We Assumed We Once Knew will be on view at the Rice Media Center Gallery from September 6, through October 17, 2019. Rice Media Center Gallery hours: Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Q&A for Josh:
Can you be more specific about what sites you will exploring? Will it be a mixture of Houston, Galveston, and any cities in between? Where have you been traveling? Which ones will you read with the Ovilus? Is there a link between the photographs you show and the Ovilus readings? Or do you prefer that the viewer not have this kind of information?
The show will explore a multitude of sites, mostly all in Texas. Because I have been so nomadic in the past 5 years of my life since grad school, I have been really taken to wanting to know the environments in which I find myself in at a specific moment.
I should also say that while the specific site is important to me, I do not think it necessarily needs to be important to the viewer. Part of the work is removing the site from its current context and envisioning it more as a psychic archetype. A viewer may be able to recognize a site, but it’s more important for me that the viewer have this dichotomy of familiarity mixed with distance. This is where The InBetween comes in - in essence, I am trying to show what these sites may look like in a realm outside of time, outside of current context. The InBetween is very important to me, because it is essentially how I have felt all of my life: part removed, part immersed and always existing in a space of my own in-between. This may sound trite, but I have often thought of it as the realm that Frodo Baggins finds himself in when he puts on the one ring: it’s reality but not; it’s here but removed; it’s real but immaterial. This InBetween state that I feel like I am in is what leads me to things like physics and the questioning of what reality is and how it’s made up, if it’s a projection of some kind of consciousness, if humankind is a part of some kind of mass-illusion, things like that.
This is also how the Ovilus comes in - it acts as a device that potentially taps into that InBetween space. While the Ovilus’ purpose is made for communication with “ghosts”, I think of it for use in a much more broader terms. It’s a link into what lays behind the curtain, but it is also a way to let that environment, which otherwise could not be accessed, have a phonetic voice. I am curious as to what the land has to say, as particles and atoms and molecules that have been around since The Big Bang. What can it tell us about where we are now? What if we had listening parties on lands that are scared from trauma, or have held sacred rituals - what would the land tell us? I take the Ovilus to each site and let it record what it does. What I then do with the words it records is try to connect them, through research, into events happening in that area, things that I might find relevant, things about myself personally or in society, etc. I also try to connect the words to the history of the site, while also thinking about the site’s future and what that may hold. Writing has always been important to me, and the Ovilus, for me, provides a way of having writing enter the work while also feeling like it is a part of it.
As far as actually displaying the words with the work, the short answer is yes, they will be shown together, but I haven’t exactly figured out how yet. A lot of that will come together when I’m installing - on one hand, I am thinking about having the words be printed on sheets that are on a shelf by the photograph - I think that will lend itself to a more introspective and quiet interaction. On the other, I question if the words need to be a piece unto themselves, kind of like Glenn Ligon’s text pieces, albeit in an obvious way different context. I feel like my work, like me, tends to be quiet though. Maybe that’s another space that I can utilize to help facilitate interaction with the work.
And yes, this is an example of how I list the words that I get from the Ovilus, chronologically, and then start to make connections:
Another large component of my work is a desire on my end to help people more relate to the physical spaces they find themselves in. If people had a conscious connection to those places, the state of the environment would not be what it is. It’s an attempt on my end to get people to look where they are, have a sublime or uncanny encounter with it, feel connected to it, and then take that connection with them to build upon as they travel throughout their daily lives. Or, in a perfect possible representation of that, that’s part of what I hope people take away.
The sites that I have explored are obviously Galveston, but also parts of Houston and then the border towns along the Texan border: El Paso, Laredo, McAllen, Brownsville. I also have driven along the border through the very small border towns that deal with migrant crossers coming right into their neighborhood, often at night, and then seeking help. I have not spent as much time in these places as I would like, primarily due to logistical and financial reasons, but I also see this (and most of my work) as constantly on-going, evolving and generally malleable through time.
The one other site I am exploring a lot of is The Texas Killing Fields. I actually had no idea this even existed until a few months ago, and the only reason I got interested was because I happen to live right in the area where many of the events related to the case took place. In general, The Texas Killing Fields is a decades long string of still unsolved murders of young girls that center around the I-45 Corridor between Houston and Galveston. Many of the bodies of the girls were found in League City and the surrounding areas, right where I currently live. In this instance, I often think about work like Sally Mann’s photographs of Gettysburg. There is also a documentary on Mann in which an escaped convict somehow gets onto the land on which her house sits and ends up shooting himself rather than be taken by police. That whole documentary is about her series of work on death, but the way in which she talks about trauma in relationship to a landscape that I have always thought about.
Beyond just the general horrific events of The Texas Killing Fields, there is a conversation about me, as The InBetween, being somehow drawn to these kinds of places. When I moved off of Galveston Island to work at Rice, I knew I didn’t want to be in Houston proper, I knew I wanted to be close to the water and I happen to end up living pretty much in the middle of a decades long mystery that still hasn’t been solved. This is a bit of a tangent, but one of the events in the timeline of The Killing Fields was a murder that took place in Pasadena, which is the town next to me. I had just done some research and found the exact house in which the murder took place, though I didn’t know geographically where it was in relation to me. Then, quite literally a few days after, I am driving and I was either trying to avoid traffic or find a store I hadn’t been to, and I end up getting lost in one of the ubiquitous suburban Houston developments. I suddenly get a very foreboding feeling, I look up, and I am at a stop sign right in front of the house in which that murder took place - which I only recognized because I had the cross-streets memorized. I bring this up because those kinds of coincidences fascinate me, especially with my personal history of living in a haunted house, being from a super weird town, the history of my family, and so on.
There is also a relationship for me - one that I haven’t quite figured out yet - between the mystery and brutality of The Killing Fields and the border crisis with the Texan landscape being a bind between the two - about innocence being taken, lives left behind, danger in situations where one assumed was safe . . . When I was driving through West Texas, I was listening to Francisco Cantú’s book The Line Becomes a River about his time serving on the border patrol. In it, he talks about this huge expanse of land (in)between Mexico and the US, a lot of it along Texas, in which a forever unknowable amount of people of died trying to cross the cross the border. That area is literally littered with people’s remains that will never be found, never be identified, never be tracked. I think these sites hold a power, not just spiritually, but also physically - I often find it quite palpable when I am in these environments.
Can you share or flag specific photographs that you know will be in the Rice installation?
So, as you might know, the Rice Media Center is a huge space. And, up until fairly recently, I have mostly shot small format, either 35mm or 120mm. Because of this, there is a limit to size I can print and still have the images look decent without becoming blurry and/or grainy. All of the images in the gallery below are contenders. I have a semi-formed plan of what will go where, but a large part of what gets included in the show will come down to quality of prints, where I can situate them in the gallery and the general installation process. The one image I do have a specific intention for is the long image below called Sliding through planes / Folded In-Between dimensions - I am hoping to print this fairly huge: 44” at the height, which will then make the length 20-something feet. I plan to build a custom frame for it, and then have it undulate along the left lower wall in the space. (I am attempting to do a visual example of this, I will upload it if I can get done successfully.)
How do you make your drawings? Do you do them in the site you are responding to? Are they done in the studio? From the images, it is hard to tell what medium they are or how big. Do you know how you will tackle this for Rice?
My drawings are actually a fairly new part of my practice - I only really started doing them when I was in Galveston. Growing up, while I was probably better than average when it came to drawing, I was never able to successfully, in my mind, get something right to the way I saw it in my head. This became frustrating for me, as I wasn’t capable of (or have the patience to) make/ing super-realistic drawings like some of my peers - which in grade school through high school was the bar for what “Art” is. There was also a fairly traumatic incident for me as a child where my parents destroyed a bunch of my drawings in front of me while telling me they would never get me anywhere - so, that played a part. I never really drew at all, or at least not seriously.
I also have to say that going to grad school with so many abstract painters probably planted a seed in my mind as well. But it was in Galveston where I finally started to allow myself to explore doing more of this kind of work, and it quickly became one of my favorite studio habits. To me, in my mind, they have become maps of a sort to the realm of “The In/Between”. However, I do not want them to necessarily read as that, at least not right off the bat. The ones below are in progress and I am aiming to include in the show, probably together all on one wall. They are each 17x22 inches and I am treating them as semi-connected panels. Because I often work in black and white imagery, I felt that I needed to incorporate some color somewhere, not only in my practice but also in this show. There is probably something to unpack in this, but I use pens, pencils, markers and gel pens at the medium. Totally not “archival” and they have a tendency to fade - but I’ve kept with it because it feeds into the idea of time and what happens over durations.
Behind these drawings, I am printing, large and on vinyl, this image: in the gallery below of the solely black and white images, third row, second from left.
This is a bit of an experiment, but I will print the image in panels and it will be adhered to the wall directly behind these drawings. My anticipation is that, because the image is from a 35mm film frame, that the larger it gets, the more unreadable it will be from close up. It will only be from a distance in which a viewer will be able to make out the whole thing. This partially in response to the space itself - the area this is going in is a little cove area on the second floor, which is directly ahead when viewed by the audience coming in from the Rice Cinema part of the building. I wanted something that might entice someone to get closer and go up to that second level, which can be a bit dark and removed from the rest of the gallery. The other area this falls into is the questioning of reality, what we see, how we see it and so on. For me, this image could be one of a couple things; even though it is a photo of rock texture, it also looks like it could be a glitch or some kind of digital interference. I like that play between what is visible in the physical world versus the constructs of what makes up a virtual world - of what is reality, what is fiction and how we experience and/or differentiate between the two. This is very much based on some science theories, of which I will link to below - it will probably explain better than I can.
07/31/19 Is reality real? How evolution blinds us to the truth about the world (via New Scientist)
12/04/16 We Survive Because Reality May Be Nothing Like We Think It Is (via Big Think)
08/31/16 Metaphysics special: How do I know I exist? (via New Scientist)
04/25/16 The Case Against Reality (via The Atlantic)
06/03/15 Don't Panic, but Physicists in Australia Just Proved Reality Doesn't Exist (via Inverse)
Can you explain more of this sketch to me? It would help to see it overlaid a gallery plan if that is an accurate way to portray it?
This sketch was for something preliminary that I am not sure is going to be capable of being produced, due mostly to cost, but I can explain regardless:
When I first started planning this show for Rice in the Fall of 2018, I was fresh from my time in Galveston and still thinking a lot about what I had going on there. I really embraced this kind of “mad scientist” aesthetic (as described by Leslie Moody Castro) with my installations where I could really embrace an experimental side of my work. This was in part because of the content I was working with, in part because I simply had a studio to do it in (the first time I had one since I had been in grad school) and in part because of the open nature of GAR for allowing freedom in creation. For my show in Galveston, I encrusted objects that I unearthed from a lot that was next to GAR that was currently being dug up to build housing. The objects I found were specific to the island, yet they were together in a dirt pool of artifacts from over many decades of island history. For example, while I came across the usual contemporary garbage - soda cans, beer bottles, etc - I also found things like horseshoes and glass vials that looked like they could be from the early century. It was this conglomerate of history all in the same area, no doubt washed into place and left by the numerous times the island has been covered with sea water. I collected this objects, submerged them in a super-saturated salt solution and then let salt crystals grow on the objects over time.
Salt itself has always interested me as a substance for the purposes it is used for: obviously for taste, but also for corrosion, for protection, for purification, for preservation. It is a perfect substance for Galveston, who has experienced all of those things.
At the time, and in relation to the above sketch, I had also been reading a book on physics and the origins of the universe, I believe by Neil Degrasse Tyson (I have been looking for the specific quote, but I haven’t found it, I will post when I do) and in the book he described the the early universe as a bubbling, frothy soup - although much more eloquently. I was simultaneously reading another book by physicist Brian Cox that outlaid a theory on how life may of gotten started on Earth: scientists are exploring the possibility that life was somehow shocked into existence by the electricity that is produced when salt and fresh water mix, their ions moving back and forth to create an electrical current. If this was to happen around open sea vents, where the mixing of water would be met with heat, theoretically, life could emerge from these combinations. (He gives a much more logical and detailed explanation that makes it seem less magical and more plausible.)
So, it was salt, which I had already been using, plus this really lovely image of a beginning frothy soup of a universe. In the sketch above, my initial thought was to link the two levels of the Media Center by having a pump that would pump salt water from a container on the second floor, to a large pool that I would build on the lower floor. This water would mix with ________ (something I haven’t come up with yet) to create a frothy concoction in the pool. However in the pool would also be fresh water, and I would install wires to pick up the electrical current caused by the shifting ions, thereby producing electricity to power something. (This is all very elementary school science project, I realize - it would have to be developed further).
In addition to this, I had wanted to create some kind of communication between the Media Center and Galveston Island. My initial thought - and I have no concrete idea of how to do this yet - would be to set up two Ovilus’, one in the Media Center and one on Galveston. I had hoped to use the Weather Bureau building in Galveston, which is now the artist lofts, to house the second Ovilus. (It is also the same building that Issac Klein used to transmit a telegram from Galveston to Houston about the incoming catastrophic 1900 storm.) From there, either by way of a video connection or an audio connection (video preferable), the two Oviilus’ would communicate back and forth about what they were picking up at each site.
Having said all that, it’s clear that this would have been a very different show than what I am doing now. For one, the current show is much more about an ambiguous landscape using Texas as a whole for inspiration. Two, my mind has moved away from being so Galveston-centric to thinking about broader issues, for example, the border crisis of which I am in close physical proximity to. Three, while I still hope to do an installation of some sort, the show is turning out to be much more a photo-based show than anything else. Partially, I think, that is due to the space - the Media Center is much more of a “precious” site than GAR was, meaning I can’t drip super-saturated salt solutions on the floor of the gallery to watch salt crystals grow like I did at GAR. Two, I don’t have a studio, so a lot the experimental phases that I would have had to go through to get this project to a point of fruition couldn’t take place. However, what I did have access to was cameras, a darkroom, digital printers, etc. I also, just over the years, have a ton of images that I really love, but that I haven’t had a chance to do anything with. Combined with using this show to hopefully get a job next academic year, along with being a photography lecturer at Rice, it just kind of fell into place that way.
I hope to still do an installation at the Media Center, though it will probably be much like installations I have done before of using found objects to create something, i.e. the work I did at Banfill-Locke, The Torpedo Factory or at the Byrdcliffe Guild. I also still hope to realize the frothy project at some point. Eric Schnell and I are working on a group show for next fall at GAR where I may try to implement the Ovilus-communication part of it. We’ll see.
How do you choose a site?
Quite honestly, a lot of the time it happens by chance. I take advantage of whatever opportunities come my way and then adapt myself to figuring out what exactly it is about the site that I find interesting or that I feel a connection to. There have been times where I have had an idea of what I wanted to explore, an example of that being Galveston. (One of my art-dreams is to do more proactive planning in this area and research sites around the world and then go there to spend time in them and work.) Mostly though, I often let the site inform me. That’s what I am doing with this Rice show - it is turning into more of a culmination of my general experience in Texas and/or “The West” than it being just about a specific place within that area. This is also bringing in Texan history, the current Texan political climate, the genealogy of the Texan ideology, etc.
There is also a constant theme of social issues at play, and this is something I am just starting to get back into: when I was in grad school the idea of doing any kind of work around social issues was a huge taboo, it was conceptually beaten out of me. No one wanted to look at it, no one wanted to talk about it. So I tried to still build social issues into my work, but in a much more subtle way. Prior to grad school, the majority of my work was around LGBT identity in media and how simulacrums of identities impacts one’s relationship to the identity itself, if that makes sense. Now, I am much more focused on the environment, climate change and how the shifting of those two things will impact and inform humanity. Part of that is the idea of trying to deal with the border crisis as an obvious association to being in Texas, but it is also relevant in my personal life because I am married to an immigrant (though he’s not Latino), and we’ve had to navigate somewhat around the Trump propaganda machine in certain situations. (To be clear, it is nothing akin to what migrants crossing the border for asylum are going through.)
Because of these issues, my interest is in exploring “The West” is in relationship to the American psyche and what “The West” has meant to us as Americans. I wrote this in relationship to some of my past photographs: “I am very interested in what these places mean in terms of a current American psyche, but also for myself as a queer entity traveling through them in this specific time. These landscapes are as foreign to me physically as they are to psychically, as alien as a literal other world, even as an American who has had the persona of these lands fitted to me like a dancing tights - like, I should say, most other (perhaps mostly white) Americans. I wish to use the landscape to dive into the foggy earth of consciousness, as a familiar yet foreign experience to explore how our environments shape who we are on a psychic level. This is especially of importance in 2017 as the changes happening in the U.S. are so divisive. While progress goes in and out like a social tide pulled by the gravity political reality stars, the landscape remains as an ideological mass that defines & defies the nostalgia of what America used to be - and perhaps what it could be still if we stop destroying it.”
I will also say, after thinking about it some, that I purposefully leave many of sites to chance because I very much like the idea of being able to connect to the environment one finds themselves in. That again goes back to a large part of the goal I have with my work: suggesting that people take a moment to consider the time and place that they are in and build a stronger connection to that. What we perceive as the banal and ordinary landscape of our daily lives is actually teeming with morsels of discovery like grubs emerging from the dirt.
After exploring a chosen place through your ovilus, photography, drawing (other means -- like collecting objects?), what then happens in the gallery space while installing? Are you bringing these materials to the gallery space and figuring out how to connect them or make them spatially dynamic on site?
In many ways, yes - much of my installation building is done in response to the site during the process. However, I do have ideas before I get on site, especially if it’s a place that I have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in. In this regard, I often look to artists like Sarah Sze, and the way she builds her installations, though I know she does much more planning than I do. However, in contrast to Sze, who purposefully uses all new materials in her work because of the lack of context or history brand new objects have, the context and history of my objects are hugely important. While she connects her installations to the site as far as general logistics (physical size, etc), I feel like I am much more connected psychicly to a site, or at least let that psychic energy inform me in a much more direct way. (I am also not deluded into thinking that I am making Sarah Sze level work, I just really admire her work and think about it often.)
The installation process is experimental, malleable and often in flux even after it’s up. I don’t mind objects shifting throughout, it again references time in general.
What are all the means of connection? String, drawn line, sound waves, words? I am trying to imagine all the tools at your disposal that you use to try to show something ultimately ineffable and in flux.
For the past several years, I have been using neon nylon string in many installations. I started off using it because I was interested in this idea of having it be a stand-in for light, and have it be a visible trace of where photons travel. I would go into large areas, install this neon string, and then later go back and night where I could do long-exposure photography to then use actual light (example here). I eventually began to also think about it as a physical way of connection, kind of like fiber optics - or having the string, in my mind, allude to the information that is transmitted back and forth between objects, places, etc.
The other thing about the string that I liked was a clear-cut connection to String Theory, but in more broader terms, thinking about the workings of the universe and tracing perhaps just one path that a photon might take, or materializing the hidden latticework that keeps our reality upright from collapsing. In addition to having a connection with a specific environment, I am also looking for ways in which to have a viewer be reminded of the sublime nature of the universe and to question the reality that they see around them. A goal is to perhaps leave a piece being slightly more open to believing that the environments they encounter are special, are mysterious and are worthy of their time, attention and preservation.
Another way is through the Ovilus, using that as a device to attempt to communicate in words with the ineffable or to pinpoint just one instance that then goes back to being in flux.
Other artists/creatives I often think about, in addition to ones mentioned: Danh Vo, Trevor Paglen, Simon Fujiwara, Tino Seghal, Mel Chin, David Lynch, Mark Z Danielewski, Tomás Saraceno, Rachel Sussman, Xu Bing, Edward Burtynsky, Wolfgang Tillmans (especially as far as presentation of photographic work), On Kawara, David Benjamin Sherry,
Summary: Much of my work generally addresses one’s relationship to a site through time, connecting and documenting the seen and un/seen connections. The show, InBetween | A rock and a hard-place, examines the unsettled time that we all live in. We, as a global society, will experience a huge coming shift in the way we will live our lives that we cannot yet define. This show explores that shift while using a specific site - the Houston area of Texas (or Texas in general?) as a reference point. The world is very physically changing and we as a species have yet to map out how to navigate that change. Yet we are all more than this planet, more than these sites, more than our environments.
The work included in this show will be lens-based, installation-based and hand-based. The lens-based images shown act as physical places out of time, caught in the shifting transition, landscapes that were and that will be still, with or without conscious acknowledgement. Yet, through these sites, the work dives into the foggy earth of consciousness and the grip they have in the specifically American identity of this place and time. These landscapes are both familiar and foreign, and we experience them with both a belonging and a questioning that shapes our identity on a psychic level. That psychic connection is imperative, because the land, as an entity, will outlive us all, no matter how hard we try to destroy it, inadvertently or not. The land will survive and the land has things to tell us, sometimes quite phonetically. We come from the land, we will return to the land - the land is where our collective psyche will lie. The land is made up of our ancestors and our descendants, and it speaks as they did and will.
In collaboration with that idea, there will be sheets of vinyl that cover parts of walls in words that come from an Ovilus device. The Ovilus is a device invented for and used in paranormal research. The makers describe the device as something that “converts environmental readings into words”. I often use this device in my work not to necessarily communicate with spirits, but as a potential way of giving the land and opportunity to speak through those “environmental readings”. These words become long lists that form a sort of poem where context can be taken as a whole, through groupings of words, or through searching for meaning in the abstract, much like we do with art itself.
(For an example, please go here and scroll to about mid-page where the majority of the text starts.)
The installations act as instruments to connect points in the mobius strip of time, both to themselves, to that which was and to that which is yet to be. (Further information and description of site-specific installation to follow; for past examples please see gallery below.)
The hand-based work will be drawings that can act as maps or interpretations of how to navigate a landscape that cannot or does not yet exist. (Drawings currently in progress. Examples of past drawings can be seen in the gallery below.)
Through the work, the goal is to have the viewer find a better sense of their relationship to their environments while being motivated to have more care with those sites. The idea of a social practice does not, and cannot, be regulated to solely a large group effort. In the end, it is an individual that has to be brought to challenge their own experiences. Change happens person by person, even if by grand scale. People do not change unless that person themselves decides to.
Thoughts on The InBetween: The InBetween is an extension of my physical self that moves through what we experience as reality, living in and out of time and place. It explores that reality in a state that is neither here nor there, yet present at all times. It slips and shuffles and slides through the curtain of reality that separates what we see in a physical life from the unknown mechanics that move the scenery. This extension touches upon notions of the multiverse, the possible hidden dimensions left to be discovered in physics, the invisible yet palpable nature of dark matter - invisible forces that make up and guide our lives that yet exist outside the realm of visibility. The InBetween can be viewed as a conduit for these energies, but it exists really just to be an experience of a conscious being moving through this space and drawing attention to points along the way. The InBetween does not exist to prove or to show anything, it just is.
Ultimately, The InBetween is one moving piece on a board of constant playing, interacting with the other pieces on their own trajectories, wanting to highlight certain experiences while acknowledging and encouraging all the other pieces to do the same: to explore and document their own worlds.
Further Inclusion & Research: Energy / Houston, relationship between creation and destruction. Energy as a constant, something that cannot be created nor destroyed, yet how energy creates life.
Below: Drawings in progress
Below: New working images, Summer 2019
Below: Images under consideration for inclusion; negatives of images will be scanned on a high-def Imacon scanner and then printed digitally.
Below: Examples of past drawings, similar ones will be included in this exhibition, roughly 17” x 22” each.
Below: Examples of past installations