As a research-based artist, I use a range of media to give form to the political ecology of place. While my earlier work addressed spaces shaped by political struggle, the growing ecological crisis has prompted me to focus on the damaged landscapes of everyday life. The ‘slow violence’ of the climate crisis—with its linked emergencies of extinction, toxicity, land loss, and pollinator collapse–cannot be separated from continuing legacies of racism and colonialism. If climate change represents a change of geologic proportions, as many scientists believe, it requires we re-evaluate everything that came before: concepts of the autonomous individual, an economics based on perpetual growth, and values systems structured around (some) human needs. I strive to make work that is big enough to capture complexity and small enough for intimacy, identification, and action.
Art historian W.J.T. Mitchell influentially observed that “landscape” should be understood less as a noun than a verb—not merely a visual genre but a cultural practice through which the historical, material, and social processes that have shaped space are naturalized and rendered opaque. The visual dimension of landscape has been widely theorized as concealing more than revealing, presenting a methodological challenge for the visual artist. By themselves, images may monumentalize their subjects, and artists have long used strategies like distortion, sequencing, captioning, collage, and montage to disrupt the power of the single image. While concerns with landscape have animated my most significant work, I have consistently sought to shift, undermine, or supplement the visual dimension of space through textual and experiential means. Rather than offer fixed, masterful works that might present alternative content but address the audience or spectator in familiar ways, I seek to share my research process as one possible model for critical engagement with space. My goal is to offer accounts of landscape that allow them to be read as complex but contingent material, cultural, and interspecies assemblages.
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