Distance (2019) – documentation of public media installation

Created as a part of the 2019 Windows of Understanding public art project (windowsofunderstanding.org), for which I was paired with Coming Home, a nonprofit that works to create a system to end homelessness in Middlesex County, New Jersey (cominghomemiddlesex.org). Installed at Ramen Nagomi, 49 Bayard Street, New Brunswick, NJ January 18-February 28, 2019.

Statement: My conversations with the folks at Coming Home often revolve around the idea that you never know how close you might be to becoming homeless; that anyone can be homeless, regardless of socioeconomic status/history. This installation features a mirror-like film applied to the entire window so passers-by see their reflections, with a cut out for a screen of simple scrolling text. This text is sourced from real dialogues with individuals experiencing homelessness for the first time, often coming from steady professional/personal lives, in turn aiming to make this idea tangible to viewers who might otherwise find it inconceivable.

Charles Prigmore’s Swamp (2018) – documentation of multimedia lecture-performance

Artist statement: "Charles Prigmore’s Swamp" is a multimedia lecture-performance in which I take on the titular character of Charles Prigmore: an emerging interdisciplinary artist who recently moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey to connect with his roots and start a new art gallery. Following in the footsteps of the late-1600s Prigmore colonizers, Charles Prigmore proudly furthers problems of gentrification in his city and cultural appropriation in general. Appropriation also exists on the level of the performance script itself, as I lifted the majority of its contents directly from interviews (e.g. Jordan Wolfson, Jill Medvedow), local news articles (early as 1854), essays (Danto’s “The Artworld”), song lyrics and more, sometimes in full-paragraph chunks. The work uses the traditional podium/audience/projection lecture setup as a starting point, but quickly emerges as a work of theater dependent upon a wide range of edited/live media, including videos, websites and computer interfaces.

I am continually trying to come to a more complete understanding of the privileged sociocultural conditions of my existence as a straight white man in the United States, and the ways in which such conditions affect how I interact with my surroundings, specifically the people and environment of New Brunswick, where I currently live as a college student. That said, Prigmore – a character that has personal anecdotes, interests and concerns uncomfortably similar (and sometimes identical) to my own – contends with these issues in ways I consider to be counterproductive and ignorant, embodying what Ajay Kurian calls our “contemporary pollution” of white victimhood/entitlement.

The central paradox of Charles Prigmore is his identification with the actions and viewpoints my performance aims to critique. The audience will question the truth evaluability of any supposed “real shit” and the distance between myself and Prigmore, especially within the quasi-transhistorical structure of narrative fragments. Throughout the performance, this oscillating state of unknowing becomes an anxiously productive space for the audience to occupy.

Thank you to Steffani Jemison, Erin Keane, Demoie Montego, Erik Thurmond, the rest of our class and everyone who attended the performance.


Soothing ASMR Whispering for Banjo Strings (2017) – documentation of live media performance

Statement: This live media performance focuses on the fragility of masculinity. While the ASMR video and banjo player seem to exist in their own realms, their interactions are obvious. The detailed educational discussion in the ASMR video is exactly what the banjo player does not want to hear, sonically overwhelming the ASMRist whenever he screams. He snaps the strings again and again (four total), though he must know what is coming to him after the first time. The VJing feed projected behind the banjo player features clips of a hyper-masculine tone to support the banjo player (as a performer and emotionally, as a character), yet at the same time intensify the relationship between him and the ASMRist. It is worth noting the title of this project, Soothing ASMR Whispering for Banjo Strings, suggests that the ASMRtist might be making this video for the banjo player, or perhaps he was one of her viewers who requested for this topic to be discussed: a cry for help/outstretched hand, an escape from certain expectations of masculinity.

Note on the shortcomings of this documentation: This documentation does not properly capture the essence of the performance, so I will elaborate here. Any details explained here are ones that should have been evident to the audience, but not presented in the frame of this video. The ASMR projection on the left is a single-channel video projection bounced off a convex mirror, creating the extreme distortion. The lips of the woman are usually just above the frame of the video, but we do see them at times in this documentation. The projection on the right is the output of a live video-DJing feed (VJing). I am situated behind the podium (located in the direction of the banjo player’s gaze) with a laptop, mixing the clips live. Every time the banjo player screams, it is a result of him snapping one of the strings with a knife.

ASMR video transcript: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BtNpL-6Lu1x7o0tQ_QPOxCZ36QEAd3_TLbcHSz8KhSc/edit?usp=sharing Thanks to Cass and Erin for filming.

Unknown Vlogger, No Front Camera (2017) – media sculpture documentation

Come inside & vlog! Tell us something about your day!

HAND OVER THE KEY (2017) – documentation of four-channel video installation

My first foray into moving-image installation, HAND OVER THE KEY was in the Civic Square Building's Project Space (room 230) October 5-12, 2017. This installation was approved by the administration and the narrative was staged.