VIDEO AND PERFORMANCE
The Great Eraser
Special thanks to Clare Benson for her help with this video.
Digging for the River
This video seeks to explore and make apparent the irony and sad environmental history of the Rillito River in Tucson, Arizona, United States. Once a flowing, churning, aquatic ecosystem, the Rillito now only flows in pitiful spits after the heaviest and most intense of monsoon rainfalls. The river floor is always littered with odd bits of detritus brought downstream or unearthed by flooding waters during the latest deluge.
Digging for the River depicts an excavation—a pseudo-archeological hunt for the river, potentially beneath the desiccated sand. All that one finds however is more sand, the littering remnants of those people whose insatiable appetite for water contributed to the disappearance of the river in the first place, and a hole—a void representative of the absence of the water. Once the water is gone where is the river? What is left? How do we interact with the river or the absence of such?
A cairn is a tall, balanced arrangement of rocks usually found outdoors in the wilderness. They take many forms and are pan-cultural—having been found in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Cairns are used for many different purposes but most often for marking the path of a trail, for marking a grave, or for marking a special geographic or religious site.
The stacking of river rocks on the artist’s chest serves as a metaphor for the development of self-identity, personality, and self-importance. These are tasks central to personhood but they are fraught with insecurities, moral struggles, and self-conflict. Much of the artist’s own identity has been tied up with his efforts to live in concert with nature and often failing, referenced by the ultimate collapse of the cairn.
More Than Twice as Many
The simple action of stacking stones becomes a stirring metaphor when paired with the audio in this piece. It mimics both the monumental and fragile nature of human ambition and cautions against the catastrophic consequences of uncheck human population grow and its accompanying material consumption.