Beast are performative wearable living dioramas using multiple media to anthropomorphize the environmental crisis and, expose parallels to societies treatment of women. Inspiring dialogue for change.
Life of all kinds and how we as Human beings interact with it and, respond to it has always interested me. How life is so ephemeral and transitory has made me want to dig further into the psychology of our universe. Through my own representational language, be it obvious or obscure, I wish to engage the psyche. By employing that which may be real or imagined I am suggesting a believable structure yet one not necessarily rational. The forms I depict often work through the implications of confinement, oppression and restriction, searching for some kind of symbolic release.
Though striving to create works which are lyrical or even anthropological in nature, ultimately my efforts towards expression seek some means of reclamation. That which once was surrendered is now re-awakened.
Pragmatically I’ve been moving forward as an artist since relocating to Canada. But I’ve only become a permanent resident December 2011 in spite of having lived in Canada since 2001. Due to bureaucratic process I’m only now eligible to apply for grants that will help further enable my career.
These performative wearable living dioramas appear as Haute Couture but upon closer inspection is it fashion or, a fragile veneer that we treat recklessly and, castaway or is it a second skin, a kind of armor that protects our Humanity? While it is the intention for the inaugural presentation of Beast to be a live performance piece the audio and video elements will help the work translate into a gallery presentation where there isn’t a performance element. Thematically many of my themes are ephemeral; as such, there is irony in a lifeless documentation of what was originally a live performance as this further emphasizes the fragility of Beast and what it represents.
‘Beast’ will be built incorporating dissimilar materials creating the performative wearable living garments. Soundscapes or ‘sound environments’ will be created for the individual performative wearables evoking childhood fairy tales, beauty, desire, loss, strength, horror and sorrow.
Glass will be a primary material used to construct the dioramas. Although in this instance actually quite strong, glass itself is viewed as fragile adding to the overall impact of Beast.
To illustrate and narrate the environmental crisis and the global impact I intend to superimpose live performance over edited video footage of Iceland’s better known scenic landscapes: Jokulsarlon, Thingvellir; the highly touristed Golden Circle area. My last visit to these outstandingly beautiful areas I was struck (and disgusted) by the garbage everywhere. Literally hundreds of cigarette butts ground into the dirt and rocks around Iceland’s prized Gullfoss. Coke bottles and candy wrappers stuffed between rocks around Thingvellir. Which in itself spoke loudly to me as the Thingvellir (first parliament) is the site of a Rift Valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The continental drift between North America and Eurasian Plates can be clearly seen in the cracks and faults which traverse the region. Where Europe and North America meet, is this trash and disregard left by tourists or local inhabitants?
Regardless, my visual and emotional use of Iceland is not intended to point fingers at Iceland in of itself but more so Iceland’s still pristine, primordial natural environment, viewed in a broader sense as how Humans (in general) treat our shared environment as an ever flowing grocery store and garbage can.
-American fast food chains opening throughout Iceland, 3000 year old lava fields being destroyed in order to build condos, deforestation, over fishing, mass slaughtering of whales in the name of age old traditions.
Diorama #1 is a beautiful fashion statement. Cire perdue -Lead crystal cast platforms reminiscent of Jokulsarlon at sunset (through embedded soft circuit LEDs), a living moss full length skirt suggesting, Grábrókarhraun. Icelandic wool felted into long Radiolarian-like panels mirroring glass counterparts resembling lava rock embedded in ice. A large fishing net ‘wrap’ made up from hundreds of flame worked and cast glass seaweed forms, Icelandic Wolf fish leather and Sterling silver fish hooks and harpoons trailing down the back. Icelandic wool felted and braided with Human hair will be worn as a helmet or Birka suggestion, covering the face with a partial veil of flame worked glass tears/rain drops with lava rock inclusions.
The video and live performance will show the dioramas in full and then progress into the narrative. The live performances will have rehearsed though primarily improvised content: walking through garbage, fish being gutted repeatedly. The video will be edited to reflect this in a jump-cut/stop motion way as small house like structures over run the moss skirt until it is completely destroyed. The crystal platforms’ light will fade out and change to red depicting (the receding glacier & lagoon) an ocean full of blood.
Throughout the history of the sexes, women have been perceived as inferior to men, but also have been elevated to the status of goddesses on Earth. Beast suggests that these paradoxical biases often associated with women can be linked to an existential need to distance humanity from the natural world. Which brings us to Diorama #2
Reviled, feared, objectified. Women’s body parts referred to as animal, something necessary to control or tame (trophy wife) hysterical or helpless. Women’s interest in knowledge and/or truth drove ‘mankind’ from paradise. This performative wearable diorama will draw upon darker imagery creating an almost armored Human-hybrid the Beast within the Beauty if you will. Steel armatures suggestive of cages. An abdominal glass piece will house stop motion video projections. Fused glass chastity belt, lead crystal cast heart harness.
Metal such as; steel, copper, aluminum and, sterling silver will be cast, fabricated and welded into armatures that will house/hold the glass structures. Video- embedded within some of the metal and glass wearables will consist of stop motion and anatomical footage.
Video- performance will be shot after the ‘wearable living dioramas’ have been constructed. Soft circuitry will be used to activate LEDs and sounds when the dioramas are worn.