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the Moment of Reckoning that didn't come

Updated: May 29

With the help of a Hambidge Center residency this spring, I revisited important ephemeral works that long ago deteriorated. This work is important to me and relevant to current concerns around the welfare of the earth, and of women and girls. Pushback against climate action and women's rights, and the rise of anti-woman rhetoric, underpins some of this work where I explore exploitation and violence. I have ongoing questions about what it means to disappear something or someone when they are inconvenient or reduced to objectness, otherness, and thus disposable? How can we look at this through the lens of ephemeral art?

Ephemeral art lasts for a relatively short amount of time if, like me, you're thinking in Deep Time or Cosmic Time. The material substance of the work breaks down over time or is designed to disappear. Conceptually, time is an important element in my work - reflecting the nature of living things - as in a state of constant change. Physicists work in this realm, as do artists, pointing to the fundamental laws of nature. What makes us up is timeless and persists beyond the now, part of an intricate, interconnected sacred web of life. This is important to a spiritual understanding of the sacredness of all living things and brings up questions as to what is important about how we live in the now. Is the masculine inherently violent? Who and what do we safeguard?

The ubiquitous photographic lens captures and freezes curious human-centric obsessions and constructs in a timeless universe. But what we are capturing and how we disseminate that information is somehow reducing our experience and understanding of the world as something trite and instantly disposable. What is this doing to the inherently spiritual, warm-blooded mammal with a conscience, the HUMAN? Who or what, historically, was deemed easily dismissed, devalued and discarded, and how is the rapidly evolving attention-deficit factor contributing to this phenomenon? Our wires are getting crossed as to an understanding of what is important and to sustain a quality life for everyone.

In my current multimedia series, digital works won’t break down, in a lifetime, unless and until all the servers and networks that hold them cease to exist. As insurance, each digital work is partnered with material legacies to extend the experience beyond the digital-ecosystem and into the physical world. The work forces us to look longer, and be in-person, in the world outside digital space. Human connection and conscientiousness is fostered.

It is all too easy to ignore and forget flashing images, reports and short form videos coming to us at great speed. Information and image saturation is numbing, and thus our brains are impacted, unable to decipher what is actually important to human well-being and survival. Even reports about the disappeared among us, femicide and anti-female rhetoric become click-bait, a moment in time to move on from. Your finger touches a scrolling device, your brain demanding you move on and get another digital fix. Doom-scrolling does nothing. Seeking another hit, to make us feel something, works on a part of the brain that locks us in, fixated on devices and digital experiences that co-opt our brains and make them less human and more lizard-like.

Unconscious human impact and indifference affects the balance which allows all living things to thrive in the natural world. The experience of art, that exists for a time, in both digital and physical space, does something more for the human organism. These experiences allow us to thrive beyond isolating screen-existences and their desensitizing effects. Ephemeral art, like us, breaks down and returns to the cosmos, reminding us to be present. The moment of reckoning might be now, and it is not centered in doom and destruction, but in our ability to wakeup from a sleep so deep that we can live again in the real world. In this living, we can pushback against forces that aim to diminish or disappear what we we first objectify and exploit, and easily discard after use.


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