Artifacts are the physical manifestations of our presence. Artifacts are defined as human-made only, a modification of natural materials. Other types of artifacts are naturefacts, objects taken from their natural environment and used as is, unmodified; and animal artifacts, a creation by a non-human animal. Artifacts/Ecofacts attempts to collapse all of these definitions to create artifacts that represent the complex relationships between humans and other species. The works are observations of our roles as ecosystem builders and reflect the non-human animal and plant species that live in human-made ecosystems. Artifacts/Ecofacts are fragments of our daily environment. They reflect just how close nature is in our everyday lives. The mental construct of “nature outside of human spaces” creates a block, keeping us from seeing the nature that is embedded in our homes and neighborhoods.
Lacuna is an unknown or unfilled space or interval. The distance between life and death is immeasurable, a lacuna, because they exists simultaneously as a whole. Life and death are placed into a false binary in our culture. In reality they move fluidly between one another and their surfaces come into contact and intersect at all points of space and time. People are taught to shy away from death and to think of it as “unnatural”. It is a way we culturally divide ourselves from other non-human animal species. For life to exist, death must happen. The on-going process occurs when food is consumed and cells in the body die and are born. All life is actively dying while living. I understand my life through exploring the narratives of other animals and their deaths. Death is the creative force in life. It turns living flesh into the building blocks for others to thrive. I act as an undertaker for the animals and plants I find and celebrate their lives through their death with a sensitivity to the impermanence of existence. It is the end of their narrative and the beginning of another. The relationships of our interconnectedness are frozen; both presenting the raw materials for life and stopping the breakdown and recycling of the matter. That liminal state is extended for closer reflection of the ebb and flow back and forth between life and death.
Learning How to Die
I act as an undertaker for non-human animals and prepare them for viewing. This work is about life as much as it is about death. Death is a creative force; the beginning of a new cycle of life. When all die, they become the building blocks for the living to thrive. Ecology and biology research and found animal and plant material drive my process. I look for instances where one species consumes another or the process of breaking down dead flesh into nutrients for other plants and animals to create a sensitivity to impermanence. I look for the interconnectedness of all species and the death that must occur for the world to move forward, myself a part of that cycle. These relationships are frozen at the moments when I recognize connections; simultaneously presenting the raw materials for life and stopping the breakdown and recycling of the matter. Even being encased in resin and metal does not completely remove the animal matter from eventually breaking down, it only prolongs the liminal state between life and death. My attempt at denying the matter its function is futile yet it serves to draw attention to the transition between life and death.