As children we’re asked what we’d like to be when we grow up. Our answers come in the form of dreams; a musician, an astronaut, an actor, an athlete. Beneath these aspirations is our need for acceptance, security, fulfilment and love. Art has become a way for me to understand the hidden meanings behind my own dreams as well as reflect the desires many of us haven’t yet put into words.
Just after the fall of the Nazi regime, Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel stated “Words Create Worlds”, as it is language that shapes our reality. This space of identifying our desires can be exciting, scary and uncomfortable, but only when we share ourselves in language do we begin to manifest those intentions in reality. My practice examines language’s ability to create, question, imagine, empower, divide and destroy. Using words and materials, I am a collector and cataloguer of our human possibilities – the good, the bad and everything in between.
My collages are like vision boards, layered with both materials and personal meaning. Ephemera with deep connections to our desires (concert stubs, lottery tickets, autographs etc.) are adhered together and inform the underlying need. In one piece, the phrase “I WANT TO BE POPULAR” is carved through a canvas of vintage yearbook photos. What begins as my own adolescent confession also reveals the universal desire that is memorialized in the pages of yearbooks and social media everywhere. In each piece, the void left by the phrase represents our unfulfilled dreams, to see through materiality into the underlying “wants” in our lives.
To further engage with the viewer, I’ve created a series of interactive mirrors. These “DREAM MACHINES” are made using a computer, programmed to flash thousands of phrases that glow on the surface of a 2-way mirror. When the viewer stands before the mirror, they encounter an unreadable blur of language. Randomized and timed to the snap of a camera phone, a single message is frozen over the viewer’s reflection. Like a Magic 8-Ball or a tarot reading, we inevitably make meaning out of these chance-based messages in an attempt to connect and question who we are or could be.
My work acts as a self-discovery tool to unlock the subconscious, distinguish aspirations and realize our individual potential. In the spirit in which Jenny Holzer uses language to provoke public debate, I create work to question and disrupt our self perception. In today’s world where it seems our aspirations are harder to hold onto and reserved for just a privileged few, my practice is driven to make dreams more accessible and attainable for all of us.