In my current work, I use cell phones and mobile media devices to gather and produce sonic, visual and location based information that is integrated and fashioned into a new form of public art that functions in the midst of everyday experience. In much of this work, the art is dependent upon and in participation with physical movement that triggers the experience, hidden in the invisible layers of the urban landscape. In mobile computing and immersive interaction, the space between the user of portable/wearable media and the image is one in which real time and space can play moment by moment against visual objects. Physical movement and spatial behavior shift the representational status of the image from the screen/surface to space/embodiment. Thus the central themes on which I focus are “place” and “embodiment.”
In my photo-based work, I investigate the image as an artifact, a narrative and material fragment of memory, culture and ephemeral experience. I have an intimate relationship with the tactility and physicality of the photographic image, as print,
book, and carefully archived artifact. In my engagement with the digital image, the photograph becomes subject to transmission, alteration, databasing, hypertextual notation, along with projection and other forms of spatialization within the built and natural world. My current practice in locative media engages with the dematerialized photographic image, and the possibilities that unfold from its transmissibility. The image transforms into sound, space, surfaces and signs, decomposing into a digital landscape built of ideas and references points.
My early work investigated personal histories and the refraction of memory and experience through the body. The body’s properties of weight and mass motivated my effort to find visual communication forms that speak from but transcend the body’s material form. In early works such as the slide and sound installation, Asthma, the handmade book, Sister and the video, Walk, the body, often fragmented, sometimes whole, functions as the locus of perception, identity, and memory. Taking the body's most primary sensations, touch and synesthesia, and their memory-states, I built elements of an autobiography woven with stories of those close to me.
View from the Balcony stands in relationship to my earlier work as a fulcrum, in which these personal themes achieve a synthesis that release new possibilities by means of public installation. VFB was a site-specific project created for the Eldridge Street Synagogue, the first great house of worship built in America by Jews from Eastern Europe. The gesture of mending was the central motif of the audio-video presentation, which occupied a hollowed-out stairwell shaft in the landmark building. Sewing is a traditional female task, which acted as a metaphor related to rifts and healing. The audio segment of the installation was made up of a collage of Hebrew, Yiddish and English - the voices of prayer, community and assimilation. Language in that context connects and separates; the contradiction of connection and separation recurs and gets reinforced throughout the project, which expanded into a networked neighborhood story-sharing system. The work excavated the traces of desire, anxiety, memory and history that are communicated and made meaningful through the process of unearthing multiple layers of narrative.
I continue to engage with physical place as a portal to a network of ideas. My recent absorption with location-based media has been part of my attempt to create nodes for these ideas - sites where they can be visible and become identified while at the same time continuing to open from one world into another, crossing borders, time and language. Mobile art is no longer framed simply as a “practice” but is integrated into everyday life, exploring the idea of form as a set of lived dynamics. Using digital technologies such as a cell phone portal, GPS navigation, wired and wireless networks as primary tools, the work is dependent on physical movement and spatial behavior. In the domain of public place, my work questions how we respond to public narrative framed in the spatial arena of the city, the multi-cultural population and the turbulence of daily events.
Recent projects, Cross/Walks: Weaving Fabric Row (a gallery installation and on-site portrait of South Philadelphia’s historic 4th Street) and the in-process Street Spirit (a web site and inter-related cell phone system as a framework for a "memorial walk") function by means of place-based collective and individual narrative, public participation and community engagement. These projects are the result of hybrid creative practices that are rooted in the social and physical body, where place, human relationship, memory and the voice become a means to identify fragments of historical trace and cultural erasure in the landscape of both place and space.