A video poem for the digital exhibition “A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America: Queer Check-ins,” Presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, in partnership with Kundiman and Lambda Literary.
“An Aberrational Poetics: Inside Me an Island Shaped W/hole”
A Somatic Poetry/Interdisciplinary Art Installation
July 7-9 | Honolulu, Hawai’i
An Aberrational Poetics: Inside Me an Island (Shaped W/hole) seeks to comment on the effects of centuries of forced colonial practices upon the Chamoru artistic community and explore the means by which modern Chamoru art practitioners glean cultural knowledge in spite of displacement politics that have and continue to divide those communities. Via interactive, somatic poetry experiences, “An Aberrational Poetics: Inside Me an Island (Shaped W/hole)” encourages audience interaction with living plants grown in a space infused with creative energy, with the purpose of transferring that energy to the land in which they will be planted, further reinforcing the ideas of indigenous art practices and their contributions to, not isolation from, the land from which they are inspired and fed.
Interior Dwelling: A Structure based on “pre-contact” Chamoru dwellings, created with contemporary materials and by contemporary means.
8 Somatic Poetry Experiences: Chant, Chew, Clap, Draw, Sing, Smile, Snip, Unburden
Encircling the interior dwelling, eight somatic poetry stations urge viewers to participate with living plants to recall, remember, or envision human interactions with plants.
The Unburden Project began as one of eight interactive somatic poetry stations in the visual art installation “An Aberrational Poetics: Inside Me an Island Shaped W/hole,” a collaboration with artist Lisa Jarrett for the Smithsonian Institute’s Asian Pacific Arts Center. “Unburden” debuted at ‘Ae Kai: A Culture Lab on Convergence, a pop-up museum at the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i, in July of 2017. Somatic poetry stations invited participants to interact with organic vegetable and herb seedlings, asking them to consider the ways humans have forgotten to (or choose not to) communicate with plants. “Unburden” specifically asked participants to consider a secret they have been harboring that has had negative impacts on their emotional health, to write down that secret on a slip of rice paper, and to ultimately crumple the paper and deposit it in a bucket of organic soil. The soil was then added to a compost pile at one of O’ahu’s local organic farms–Ho’oulu Aina–where its decomposition contributed to the growth of new plants, and whereby participants’ emotional distress could be alleviated via the creative energy of new plant growth.
“Unburden” continues as an ongoing somatic poetry project, at poetry readings an art venues to which the artist/s are invited to participate.
The Unburden Project at The University of Arizona’s Poetry Center for the Thinking Its Presence Conference in October 2017
108 Poems of the Breath is an in-progress collection of somatic video poems taken while engaging in breathing exercises inherent to the practice of Tai Chi Chuan. Specific to this series, the breathing pattern used is adopted from the Yang family Tai Chi Chuan 108 posture set, from the lineage of Master Kai Ying Tung, as taught to the artist by Michelle Semet.
“108 Poems of the Breath: Fifty-five”
Self portraits from the Stainless Series are part of an in-progress and open-ended collection of photographs in which the subject is reflected on various stainless steel or *apparently stainless steel objects.
“The Stainless Series: Sculpturez”
*to the artist, on first inspection
Photographs in the Workplace Ephemera series depict spaces and objects within the property of the artist’s place of employment, a retail space that sells equipment and clothing marketed toward consumers who use the outdoors as a place of recreation and leisurely pursuits. It is an examination of art making during state-and-federally mandated break or meal break periods in a corporate space in which job duties do not include the making of art. The hourly rate of pay at this place of employment is $16.80/hour.
“Workplace Ephemera: A Study in Self Surveillance ‘It Never Ends'”