Lump Gallery; Raleigh, NC
March 4 – April 10, 2022
March 4th – April 10th
Gathering is the culmination of 5600 miles of walking every day and picking up abandoned objects from the ground. It comprises twenty-seven icons, text, and a multi-channel, looping sound installation of original music and sound composition using field recordings from my walks. This has been a two-year-long ritual of looking, listening, and gathering; a perceptual realignment.
I’ve always been attracted to objects that exhibit a certain quality of having lived a life, maybe seen some things in their day. I like the way they look; maybe they emanate a certain invisible energy that I find agreeable. But, there’s something else, too.
These are artifacts with histories. They were designed and constructed for a purpose, to work with other objects to make machines move or to hold a door hinge in place. They served their intended purpose in their first lives, and then they lay on the ground, sometimes for decades, in a second incarnation, dormant. Now they enter their third incarnation: as valued components of this installation, place, and moment. Some of these found objects were simply abandoned– obsolete cogs in a progress machine–and others were expelled: tossed out of a stolen backpack or hurled from a speeding baby stroller. Some may be fugitives, liberating themselves from an abused chassis on a pot-holed street. These objects tell us stories and ask us questions about impermanence, value, and materiality. They have a language and carry a history of human interaction with them, a transference of energy.
In one way, I’m simply bearing witness to these objects. I notice them. I pick them up and observe them, and then I facilitate a transformation–a recontextualization–without changing the essence of the object. I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be a witness to something or someone–to offer attention to the ignored, the mundane things that become invisible to us but are in plain sight. I’m bearing witness to these objects in ways I hope to do with people. What do we have in common with these objects? How do we witness the people around us, and how do we allow them to witness us?
My gathering ritual is about witnessing the discarded, about reclamation and resurrection, but above all, this work is about compassion. To engage in compassion for something or someone, we first bear witness to them. We acknowledge something or someone as a piece of a complex world with validity, purpose, and potential. Compassion is a practice. As we build capacity for it–to witness a rusted-out tailpipe and give it new life as an act of love–we can exercise it on other things and other people. These are icons for a new world, junk saints of empathy and understanding, and compassion. Their message: that anything can be treated with tenderness–even a jagged and corroded crowbar or disintegrating mitten; even the imperfect, the outmoded, the discardable; even you and me, even on our worst days.
a gathering ritual
a formality of care
this is a witnessing
this is a collective transmission
this is a resurrection event
a harmonic convergence
a self-intersecting wave
this is a group effort
this is a communal call
this is a peace prayer
one voice, many voices
this is the last line of defense
this is a love song of endurance
this is a hail mary
this is you, us, me
not giving up