We Are All Here Even Though We Are Apart

Video Projection and Sculpture (Wooden Dowels, Birch, and Metal Pipes). 7’ x 4’ x 1’. 2021

The last year has made this not only a challenge but a call to action. With our communities being decimated by a virus that literally requires us to stay apart, our once well-thought-out gallery spaces and community spaces that allowed people to gather in masses and hoards, have now become somewhat obsolete, and if not that then the reconstruction of how we gather and reuse these spaces in the future has become a huge part of how we all now must think. My response to the pandemic was to find different ways of finding authentic interactions with people, how to create or recreate moments of social interaction as we drift through these strange and uncertain times. In We Are All Here Even Though We Are Apart I have turned to a virtual community of people using social media to find these connections and put out a call for participation for this project on these platforms. The benefit to being at home or secluded from our once hectic and rushed lives is that we have had time to rest and react to our current situation, enjoy the time we spend with those closest to us, and have a literal choice of who we interact with and risk-sharing space with. This type of community that is being built virtually becomes a different type of authentic, you find different people that are better at expressing themselves through a screen and some that flat out refuse to. Like any community you have a different level of participants and members, allowing us to connect in different but still meaningful ways. When I put out these calls for participation, no one is excluded, and everything they offer is put into the piece. Leveling these playing grounds of hierarchies in relationships and the levels of what people are willing to give becomes a huge part of this work. Allowing people to interact with each other through random means of participation is my interpretation of how we as a virtual community can recreate and rebuild communities with each other. Through Zoom calls I recorded, each community member gives me thirty seconds to five minutes or more of their talent. I curate these videos together; sound overlays and meshes sometimes in harmony and others, in contrast, creating this happenstance event of melody and movement. The sculpture acting as a miniature stage is distorted by wooden dowels, like reeds protruding from a pond, physically breaking up the projection, putting distance between the viewer and the sculpture, yet allowing you to immerse yourself visually and audibly in the production. Reproducing that feeling of a random local art show or seeing that band your friend plays guitar in, allowing you to meet people with the same vested interest, and to explore new sights and sounds together with groups of people, is this moment I am working towards. The things I miss most about my community are not always the big events that we all show up to in support, but those little moments of time we spend getting to know each other, telling stories, and passing time with each other, a gift that we so often take for granted has become the most invaluable part of our lives, and often the thing that brings us the most joy, and the search for that emotion is what drives my work and practice.

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