artist statement

As a mixed-race, queer and trans* artist, I work across mediums to explore questions around ancestry, otherness, and authentic identity. Working in Brooklyn, NY, my multidisciplinary practice incorporates video art, solo performance, collective dance and movement, and audience-interactive installation. I use hybrid, interdisciplinary practices to address notions of belonging, origin, and “home,” as fractured concepts. My practice manifests “between-ness” as a permanent state, not a state lacking wholeness or solidity. I weave together choreography with theater, and play between staged performance, improvisation, and spontaneous audience interactions.

Across mediums, my practice focuses on the sensations of displacement, and accessing vulnerability and the intuitive in embodied work. In recent performances, I remix traditional cultural references I grew up with (Indonesian mythology and performance tradition) with loosely autobiographical poetic narrative to translate ancient parable into present-day stories of homecoming and queer desire. I also use multiplied lenses and multi-vocal narration in both videos and performance to represent fractured and multivarious states of identity, and the unattainable grasp towards belonging.

Motivation for my work is often at the intersections of political history and personal storytelling. I pull from current politics, pre-colonial non-Western history and histories of empire, and dig through personal ephemera (journals excerpts, digital documentation of daily life, oral family history). In some video, I mix documentary and fiction filmmaking techniques to create multi-vocal, dreamlike pieces. I’ve paired documentary audio interviews with my family and with narrative experimental film images. I often work with text and silence in video. I’ve superimposed on-screen text onto autobiographical documentary images: cityscapes from the places I grew up in or video-documented mundane daily rituals.

Vulnerability—my own and the audience’s—is the mode through which I explore mutual understanding. I aim to connect viewer or listener to storyteller through shared exposure, sometimes asking audience to narrate performances or construct a story in an interactive installation. Whatever cultural or traditional references I use, whatever personal tales I tell, what I hope for most is that audience finds themselves and their experiences reflected in my work.

April 2014

 

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