~DEAD Time // HUNGER // [I have traveled]~(Pyramid Process)
Documentation of process work at Nes Artist Residency, 2017. Video projection-mapped onto pyramid structure, accompanied by sound/songs recorded live in the Skagaströnd church and in Biopol Studio. Music + recording; image-text photographic poetry sequences by Dao Strom. Set construction & videography by Kyle Macdonald.
Hunger/I Have Traveled video (Pyramid #2) edited by Kyle Macdonald.
Process video (Pyramid #1) edited by Dao Strom.
 During this two-month residency in the north of Iceland, I spent time cutting up photocopies of war documentary photographs from the Vietnam-America war era, into many small triangles, spreading them over the floor in assorted patterns and shapes. These were photographs of war’s casualties - trenches full of Vietnamese bodies, helicopters, refugees, several iconic pictures taken by Nick Ut involving napalm and the bodies of children. One photograph in particular - of a group of white male photographers photographing a dead Vietnamese body - was especially haunting to me, not just for the way it captured the horror and spectacle of death in war, but also for its conveyance of the horror and spectacle, discomfiting at another remove, of war’s onlookers and documenters, as well. As I sifted through these images and re-fragmented them for my own process (by cutting them into pieces I was hoping/wondering if I could dispell their “narrative” power as an imagery that has, for decades, figured—which is to say: represented—the Vietnamese-Asian-brown body as “victim” and lesser in western imaginations), I was pondering also the ethics of looking, of witness, of record itself; and also the nature of desire as ignited by body-forms that may be either/both horrific and/or wondrous. The sight/site of the body itself, it would seem, produces desire in us: the wish to preserve / capture / possess / remember / salvage or interpret / re-make / re-create / transform or transmit the body into/as image. While I was preoccupied mulling over bodies of people in war and of the past, outside in the present (and literally breathtaking) natural landscape surrounding me, out there in the textures and gusts and storminess of an Icelandic autumn verging into winter, another experience of exaltation (or examination) of body - that of the earth itself - was beckoning. I might simply say about this process: I was wrestling with desire, with ideas/ideals of the body and geography, with image and memory, with past and present, inner and outer landscapes, all of it intermingling.
 The second main aspect of the process involved video + projection + sound exploration. The idea was to build a pyramid structure (echoing the triangle shape frequently recurring for me), project video mapped onto the pyramid shape, and perform music with myself kneeling inside the pyramid structure; the latter a temporal element to the installation. I recorded two songs at the residency—one a spontaneous live-performance take in the town’s local church (also triangle-shaped, coincidentally); one a song recorded in the Biopol studio. The songs also include textures from outdoors: horse hooves, grass, wind, etc. The process video is an edited time-lapse of the pyramid’s construction, accompanied by the songs.
The first song in the sequence is titled “Kirkja”; the second is “Hunger / [I have traveled]”.
“Kirkja” includes some modular synth sounds performed by Scott Ferguson.
*Note: these pieces are all part of a larger work still in progress.*
DEAD TIME as an over-arching project title refers to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Exilee / Temp Morts, a book of Cha’s collected works I was reading. During this time period I also wrote this review of Korean American artist Dohee Lee’s magnificent performance which I’d just witnessed at the 2017 TBA Festival, and which also references the lineage of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s poetry/art/film/performance work.
 I was also lent a collection of dead birds from another artist (preserved kills from her cat) in the last few days of the residency period. My partner and I photographed the birds in just a couple 2-3 hour sessions, which was as much time as we had before the bodies would begin to thaw and we had to put them back out in the snow to keep cold.
Some poetry notes from this process:
It was hard figuring how
to hold the birds
what face to wear
It is hard to capture
in the eye
of a dead thing
Pieces from this work exhibited in an international group exhibit
Summer 2018 ~ 1 Jun to 31 Aug 2018 ~
@ The Factory Art Exhibit
in the old herring factory in Djúpavík in the Westfjords of Iceland
were published online
as a sequence titled “HUNGER [TENDERNESSES IN ]
*The Tenderness Project is curated by Shayla Lawson & Ross Gay.*
image + text photographic works
video art + music
HUNGER / [I HAVE TRAVELED]
it’s better me than them to inherit [hunger]
& I have traveled far
in the company of men
with white skin
for the future
they never could agree on one way to say my name