July 12, 2011
I was first drawn to photography for its potential to preserve and share stories. Today, in addition to still images, new media enable the addition of movement, sound and dialogue in my work. Stories of social issues, identity, traditions and change in the everyday lives of people fuel my creative practice. Social Realism influences my approach to art and storytelling. I’m inspired by a wide range of artists and documentarians that have a similar foundation, from early photographers such as Robert Frank, Cartie Bresson and Diane Arbus, to contemporary artists such as Krzysztof Wodiczko, Shirin Neshat, William Kentridge and Vik Muniz. I’m drawn to collaborative, community driven art and I’m excited to see this approach gaining momentum in contemporary art. To view more of my work, please visit any of the links to the right. Thanks for visiting!
July 11, 2011
Embody is a collaborative, participatory project that exists in many forms, including an installation, live cinema performance and online. Embody was part of a residence at PlatteForum in Denver where I had the opportunity to teach and collaborate with a group of under-represented middle school girls. The girls come from a school with few resources, including a lack of arts education. The girls came to PlatteForum for workshops and joined me in the process of interviewing, filming and dancing with various female, percussive dancers. Our final work was presented as an installation and performance as well as videos, animations, flipbooks and websites. For more details on this work, please visit the following links.
I also wrote extensively about this work for my MFA thesis, including an essay that will be published in an upcoming book entitled Popularizing Qualitative Research. Please view my CV for details: CV
Volver is a documentary project including videos, interviews and photographs of a tango community in Rosario, Argentina. During a creative residency, I lived above a historic tango venue and was intrigued, but intimidated to learn more about this artform and community. I used my camera as a tool to connect with the dancers and learn from them. I also was able to practice Spanish while interviewing and editing.
Memories of Cardamom is a collaborative video installation. I worked with one of my oldest friends to help her tell her story. Reji was raised in Wisconsin, but she was born in India. She was found in a cardamom spice field and brought to an orphanage where she was adopted by an American family at the age of three. In Memories of Cardamom Reji tells her story and expresses her complex questions regarding her history, upbringing and various identities. Memories of Cardamom was presented at an international conference on ethnography, visual studies, and social theory in Pisa, Italy in the summer of 2010.
Transforming Space is a documentation of the Gates Factory demolition. The factory has been a significant and controversial component to Denver’s history and current transitions. This is another project that has been presented in many forms, from photography exhibitions to a documentary video. Recess, a local music ensemble has also performed with the video footage.
July 10, 2011
Considering how much I enjoy working with people in my art projects, I’m naturally drawn to teaching and have worked with diverse groups of students from children’s workshops to higher education. My first teaching experience was leading youth backpacking trips through the rocky mountains for many summers. During my undergraduate studies, I was a teaching assistant to my photography professor. During residencies I have led art and media workshops with under-represented youth from various backgrounds. In graduate school, I taught my first course in higher ed, entitled Introduction to Electronic Media Arts and Design. Most recently, I completed a year as a visiting assistant professor at Indiana University South Bend where I taught digital storytelling, graphic design, video art and introductory new media courses. One of my favorite perks of this job, was the diversity of the students in experience, age, race, and ethnic backgrounds. This kind of diversity keeps things interesting, challenging and inspiring in the classroom, especially in my digital storytelling course where students tell stories about their lives, their neighborhoods and their personal histories. Another highlight was organizing and curating a juried student exhibition at the Civil Rights Heritage Center of South Bend. Students created work inspired by issues of equality and inclusion, fitting the center’s mission. This exhibition gave students a chance to have their work seen in the community, to collaborate with students and faculty across campus, and to create interdisciplinary work that extended beyond the classroom.
To view some of my student’s work, click here.
My teaching philosophy regarding digital storytelling involves teaching media literacy workshops to marginalized communities. This will enable them to tell their stories while simultaneously learning useful, vocational skills. I am deeply inspired by participatory projects such as Kids With Cameras and StoryCorps. These organizations put artistic media in the hands of everyday people and under-represented children, empowering them to share their stories, with their own unique vision.
StoryCorps is a project where friends and family interview eachother. The project celebrates the power of listening to one another and the fascinating stories that are all around us. My students are often surprised by the stories that emerge from the people they see everyday, just from having an excuse to slow down, ask questions, and really listen.
Kids with Cameras was created by Zana Briski, who taught photography to children in the Calcutta red light district. This project started small, but has now turned into an international movement with workshops in various impoverished areas around the world. The children exhibit their work in top galleries and the proceeds support education, healthcare, orphanages, etc… Many of the young artists from Briski’s initial project have even been able to pay for a college education through the proceeds of their artwork.