STATEMENT (2011)

It started with theater. Not Broadway spectacles or chorus lines but theater produced in dusty black boxes where spectacle was cheap. The shows were about things that mattered, actors spoke directly to the audience, and ladders were plainly visible. After college I joined an ensemble. We spent a decade working producing plays that had never been seen in the region. Our theater was rough and immediate. We produced Brecht and Shepard and John Webster mostly without scenery and sometimes without audiences. All my work explores theatrical devices, especially persuasion and rhetoric. I am excited by collisions between plain speech and carefully wrought (narrative) machines. In theater, rhetoric is the most basic communication between actor and audience. My new work draws attention to the tension between everyday usage and cultural technology. I hope to articulate the pain and delight we feel every time we use language, narrative and history.

I generally think of language, narrative and history as poetic enterprises. But even to call them 'poetic' elevates them from the everyday. This is a mistake. Pull poetry down from the mountain and something interesting will happen. The same is true for computer technology.

Computers have become ends in themselves: the computer has become the medium. Just as Aristotle is now available on the Kindle, video work is now streamed off a hard drive to a digital light processing (DLP) projector. The image starts digitally and remains so until the light bounces off the tiny mirrors of the projector's chip off the screen and into your eyes.

Digital media is a material substance and computers impart character on media. Digital media has its own texture that may be accessed as material by anyone with a critical eye and some expertise (both can be learned). I advocate for direct manipulation of digital media. Artists working in this medium need to strip away the layers of software and digital affordances that get in the way. Think of it as a performative sculpture.

Manipulating digital media directly allows me to present the materiality of this medium. The results are refreshing and spontaneous. Only this direct manipulation can reveal the texture unique to digital media, making possible a rough, transcendent theater for today.