I have a special interest in real and imagined borders.
This work began when I started digging around US history surrounding Latin America in general, and Guatemala specifically. My partner Hugo is Guatemalan, and we were trying to craft a narrative about his country’s civil war and my country’s complicity in its most destructive acts. We were chatting online when Hugo, then in Guatemala City, received mutilated books in the mail – his books, political writings -- the day Rios Montt first went to trial for war crimes. In this body of work, I am following the links in our stories, the braids.
about Las Coordinadas/ The Coordinates
26 plaster casts of the space within cupped hands, each engraved with the coordinates of a missing village.
13 is one Mayan marker for the body. This piece is intended to be “a pair” and also “a marker of 26 units.”
On an opposing wall, texts list the 440 villages razed and the actions taken to destroy them.
I follow the story. This has always been true. My early training was in theatre, and I remain entranced by the distances we can cross when we connect text, object, action. In theatre’s tradition, the scenery is “the other actor:” a fellow storyteller whose elements echo key notes in the text. This has always resonated for me.
Earlier work included explorations of threatened landscapes, and collaborations with invisible communities – incarcerated women, and the Iowa prairie. Felt sense suggests a connection between the way we treat our landscapes and the way we treat each other.
I follow the story, working with materials that touch it. Textile braids stand in for human hair; children’s toys connect the play of violence and the destruction of war. I love how a soft thing can speak about something very, very hard; how quiet and loud are misleading; how an interrupted space can throw you off balance.
an audio piece developed by translating Hugo Gordillo’s poem, Prisa de Héroes into musical notes. The poem wonders why war criminals are dying before the courts can bring them to justice. In collaboration w Hugo Gordillo, Andrew Groenler, Sarah Calvert + Maya Ablao
The prairie seemed to me an apt metaphor: our country’s most destroyed landscape, invisibly beautiful, meters of roots underground. So many stories, so many of them silenced.
In a broader sense, I’m interested in hidden histories. I like to dig. I want to disrupt the centered narrative. I want to find what’s buried. (Who does this burying, and what can I do to stop it?) I’m not sure why, this need to uncover, but it follows me, as I follow the story and try to tell it.