Research Statement

Embodied Objects, Incorporated Images: Art, Materiality and Sociality

I use knowledge derived from practice-based research whether in the form of creative activities like art, craft and design or a social scientific methodology, to explore whether and how the innovation and use of materials and images can influence or be analogous to human relationships. My current fieldwork in Indonesia is focused on exploring ritual textiles in Bali and Java. This continues my former research at the Bard Graduate Center and the American Museum of Natural History on Balinese textiles as forms of power, as well as my earlier doctoral work on devotional clothing as religious subjectivation in an Indian Hindu group. Through these projects I continue to investigate the relational and (inter)subjective nature of action on materials and bodies.

My previous work (2007-2010) as an artist touches upon some of these themes as well as a more subjective and personal narrative by examining the relationship between mobility, transience and identity. In the installation 'Moving Home' and the object series 'Baggage' I transformed and recontextualized everyday items like packing peanuts, cardboard boxes, moving blankets and adhesive bandages to conduct material 'dialogs', and played with the analytical processes that we use to assign value and identity.

In my Masters thesis show 'Skin Deep', I used materials like clay and fiber, and techniques ranging from handbuilding to embroidery, to express my personal condition as well as larger social constructs of gender, ethnicity and race. Using the metaphor of "skin as surface" and vice-versa I rendered images of my body or created objects as materializations of self. Through representations in different media, I explored ideas of difference and the relation between depth and surface, the corporeal and spiritual, and the transcendent and the immanent.