Statement on Research:
My research practice centers around conversation, storytelling and the human relationship with everyday, constructed objects. In my internationally celebrated performance art project and award winning book All My Life for Sale, I sold all of my worldly possessions on the internet auction site eBay and traveled the world to meet the new owners of my former possessions. In 2013 I staged a guerrilla occupation of a model apartment in IKEA Singapore with my collaborator, Social Anthropologist Johan Lindquist from Stockholm University. We interviewed and photographed shoppers about their planned purchases from within our occupied model apartment turned photography studio, complete with IKEA- lights and a bright yellow seamless background made from IKEA rugs “borrowed” the flooring department.
My current series of social practice projects is called Fifty/Fifty, which brings together and builds upon several long-standing themes in my work to include a radically new embrace of social engagement around addiction and recovery: the tokens and mementos of everyday life and experience as fodder for artistic practice; the deployment of public/social spaces for personal dialogue, and the mainstreaming of networked connectivity and its impact on human behavior.
Fifty/Fifty, like my previous online performance project/book, All My Life for Sale, embodies the core of my artistic practice: the engagement with “accidental” audiences for art, whether from an interaction with my mobile pour-over coffee station serving “Recovery Roast” coffee, or stopping for a ice cold glass of water on hot days on the streets of Richmond, Doha, New York City, Chicago, or Iowa City. Initially, participants in my projects are unaware of their involvement in a social practice art work. The vast majority of them appreciate the gesture of free hot coffee and free ice water and walk on by. But some of them need to know more, they ask: “Why is this here?”, “Who is responsible for this?” & “Why are they doing it?”
Fifty/Fifty, is a traveling series of interdisciplinary, social practice art projects fostering dialogue on addiction and recovery. Fifty/Fifty is comprised of: Free Ice Water, Free Hot Coffee, and Free Hot Supper, each respectively creating a space for solitude and self reflection, outreach and conversation, and community dialogue with diverse and often unexpected audiences. Part conceptually based performance art, and part turn-of-the-century medicine show, Fifty/Fifty seeks to engage populations affected by addiction, from persons in long term recovery, to a parent or loved one who is grieving the loss of a son, daughter or friend, to a stakeholder in local government. Fifty/Fifty creates opportunities for individuals, groups, and communities to have meaningful conversations about addiction and recovery.