It came to me in a dream. How cliche. There was an aquarium full of humans. Some were alive, some dead. Some were calm, some fighting to escape. The imagery is something I cannot explain; the experience so potent I cannot help but try.
People I know and Places they Own
We all occupy space. This space we occupy, it can feel comfortable, inhabitable, scary, unwelcoming, tight, daunting, etc. Space affects us, and in turn, we affect it. Who owns space? Legally? Emotionally? So I took this question to my community. I asked them to pose in a space they consider theirs. This can be a place they own or lease, a public space, or something more ambiguous. The idea of capturing the creature in their own natural habitat is very key, as I believe that people are the most genuine when comfortable. And where else would someone be more comfortable and at ease than in a place they feel they own?
Basic Needs/Creature Comforts
Body of work created while in an artist residency at Residencia Corazon, in La Plata, Argentina. Completed/shown in August 2011 in Argentina and in October 2011 in Minneapolis.
One of my first observations in Buenos Aires and la Plata was the presence of live animals in the city, the selection and quantity of available animal meats on my plate, and animals illustrated on the city walls by street artists. This, paired with the absence of domestic animals when one is traveling (not to mention the absence of the familiar), brought the idea of "creature comforts" to mind. Above simply referencing the literal word creature, creature comforts is a phrase defined to be the things that make one feel comfortable and at ease. Upon a visit to the La Plata Zoo, instinct and basic needs were added to this thought.
According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the basic human needs start with physiologicals needs for survival. These include: oxygen, food, water, sleep, clothing, shelter, elimination and stimulation. Once these needs are addressed, the second tier of needs is related to safety. The third tier includes needs regarding love and belonging, the fourth and fifth reference esteem and self-actualization, respectively.
After observing the elephant at the zoo swaying to what seemed to be the soundtrack in its head and alpacas appearing to be in conversation with each other, I've extended these so called "human" needs for belonging, purpose, communication, education, etc to the animal kingdom. I've since been sorting through what beings (animal and human) actually need to survive, and above and beyond that, what they need to live a full life.
This series examines the aforementioned as well as the similarities between animals and humans. Each pose is taken directly from a specific animal observed and translated to the human form. Additionally, the content and forms in the pieces related specifically to my experience in Argentina -- depicting the senses and feelings received from the culture that has so generously adopted me for this time.