I began asking: How do we establish an intimate connection with our surroundings? Data gathering has become a ritual I practice that is born of a desire for intimacy between myself and my surroundings, and yet the collection of data itself produces a distance between the two. The tension between the desire to pull away and become close to my surroundings and their ecologies characterizes my research. Through this process, I seek to form connections between the self and non-self that generate new relationships between people, places, spaces, and things.
Working with a camera allows me to explore not only the hypnotic beauty of the moving image, but the nature of intimacy with other beings. Under a lens, the opportunity for intensely close views becomes possible in a way that is both invasive and intimate, loving and strange. Through my close examination of plant life in my current work, I question whether there is an inherent violence behind these views, behind the desire to dissect, categorize, and classify. The foil to this gaze is, I believe, the power of plants to influence the human body.
By examining my surroundings on a very intimate level, and allowing them to affect me emotionally and physically, I question my own desire to collect, categorize, control, quantify, and understand the world around me. My performance of experiential ritual allows me to interrupt and complicate the desire. As I walk through hallways of glass cases of animals and minerals and cosmic artefacts in natural history museums, I see the excitement, love and curiosity of the people who put them there as clearly as I see their ignorance, violence, and desire for ownership. The glass between specimen and human is a division that symbolizes the separation between humans and other forms of life, a division I am constantly seeking to erase.