In programming, there is a function that exists known as error handling. Its purpose is to anticipate, detect, and resolve application and communication errors to prevent the program from crashing.
I've attempted to translate the coding vocabulary of error handling (words like throw, do, catch, return...) into interpersonal communication in hopes that it will work in the same way as it does in a program - prevent failed communication.
Below is an example of a conversation between two people, in which they limit themselves to the vocabulary of 'error handling' while talking to each other.
In this interactive sound sculpture, a soft and intimate part of the body, the tongue, is cast out of bronze. Viewers are invited to touch the tongues. The ability of the body to hold a slight charge triggers the sound of a vowel in Spanish or English to be spoken. Vowel sounds are the first to leave our mouths as we come into a language. As several are touched in a row, they begin to take on qualities of musical notes.
(Video coming soon)
Lines of Communication
two-channel HD video 2015
Juggling string becomes a metaphor for navigating spaces between languages. Using experience as a starting point, I interviewed my mother about her use of Spanish and English as a person who was born and raised in Panama, then later moved to the United States. 'What was your first language? How did you learn English? What language do you think in? Dream in?'
As the performance progresses, these (blood) lines become tangled, crossed, and inevitably bound to one another.
Lines of Communication
False Friends in Spanish and English
a pair of speakers, audio files 2016-17
Two voices recite a list of Spanish and English false friends back and forth as if in conversation. False friends are words that sound and look alike in both languages but have completely different meanings. Yet, they often share similar etymological origins.
The piece stems from a conversation with my mom who is an elementary school Spanish teacher and ideas around failures inherent in translation.
letter tiles, table, felt, projector, MaxMSP, web camera, lamp 2016-17
A table as a platform for viewers to build words with tactile letter tiles. Once a word is assembled and placed on a slither of green felt, the participant pushes a shiny red button that will capture it with a photo and enter it into a database. Words are then pulled at random and placed into a text that is projected on an adjacent wall.
The words are constantly being scrambled by chance, creating a collective portrait of those that participated.
(Video coming soon)
chalk, wood, blackboard paint 2016-17
Casts of the artist's tongue are made out of chalk – a fragile, pedagogical material. Viewers are invited to use the tongues as writing tools, reorienting the relationship between speech and writing.
Open Air Mattress Talks
air mattresses, question cards, conversation, people 2016-Ongoing
An ongoing series of intimate conversations between students, professors, and the general public on various sites around the Arizona State University campus to talk about sexual wellness.
Participants sit on air mattresses, as a partial nod to Emma Sulkowicz’s mattress-lugging durational performance on Columbia’s campus, but also as a metaphor for the intimacy and relative innocence of student life and sexual exploration.
The mattresses are arranged in a circle and a stack of collectively written questions are passed around, encouraging the group to open up about topics related to sexual wellness. “What does a healthy relationship look like to you?” reads one. “What was your sexual education like?” reads another. Some are more personal, “Will you tell me about your first kiss?” or “What’s one piece of sex-related advice you would give to your 15-year-old self?”
Students and Schools
An after school activity was conducted with the Boys & Girls Club of Baton Rouge, LA. Over 30 elementary students (ages 5-11) were given the space to reimagine a place they spend the majority of their day – school.
381 Foreclosures in Vermont
cardboard, table, deed cards, mail correspondence 2009-10
There were 381 foreclosures in Vermont during the month I lived there. I built the same amount of houses using cardboard, an ephemeral material. Fellow artists and writers at the Vermont Studio Center were invited to assist in construction. The houses were a little larger than monopoly game pieces.
Upon completion, all houses were put up for sale. Each had a corresponding deed card that listed the price, mortgage rate, and a statistic about foreclosures in the United States.
Viewers could purchase a house by simply removing it from the table. In doing so, they entered an agreement to mail the mortgager (me) small monthly payments of $.75 per house.
If their payments were late or not received, I forwarded foreclosure notices asking that they return their house(s).