My artistic practice is deeply informed by my work as an organizer in the prisoner rights movement and my family history. Broadly speaking, my work focuses on the theme of identity and place with a specific focus on how personal stories act as counter-narratives to the historicization of events and places. Through site research—a jail, memorial, home or neighborhood—I investigate the ways in which our identities both affect and are affected by our built environments. What histories are visible, tangible, or known within these locations? What interventions can be made within physical sites to bring these counter-narratives and silenced histories to the surface?
In the past these questions have led me to various locations and topics including the community of volunteers who have taken up residence in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, the cultural and visual impact of gentrification within San Francisco’s Mission District, the construction of a new county jail and subsequent destruction of historical landmarks in Greensboro, North Carolina and the history of the Communist Party and Smith Act Trials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
An important aspect of these site-specific projects are my collaborations with various community groups, families and individuals whose stories become central to the projects themselves. As a cross-disciplinary artist, my work takes many different forms including non-fiction writing, films and slideshows and site-specific, public performances and lectures. My work always begins with an intensive research including interviews, site visits, and archival research before developing the most relevant storytelling strategies for each specific project.
Throughout all of my work is the belief in the radical potential of art and visual storytelling to influence politics and create opportunities for critical thinking and consciousness raising. My work is embedded within the political communities I belong to.