Field Review

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For my MFA field review, I read six sources and viewed four films that canvas the field of studies related to my final project to deepen the research. One of the most relevant resources I read was Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement because it outlines a Chicana art making structure I can identify choreographically with in my project. This book goes into depth about using identifiers such as Chicana/o and makes visible the precautions one might need towards not essentializing the identity. The next book, The Surrealism Reader: An Anthology of Ideas connected many ideas together because it draws from the minds of surrealist painters, sculptors, and fabricators and compiles their theory, poems, and process notes alongside their artwork. The spider-web of information resonates loudly because the surrealists were not all dreaming about surrealism, investing in surrealism, and consuming surrealism to produce surrealism. No, these artists were living and breathing while putting forth efforts to contribute to areas of phenomenology, perception, haunting, sciences, politics, and social constructs. These areas outside of surrealism better inform their art.

I am aware of the lineage.

I am active in the conversation.

I am prioritizing presence.

I am re-imagining the alternative.

Countering the perspective of The Surrealism Reader is another book called Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement. In this book the experiences, histories, artworks, and theories of Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, Dorothea Tanning, and Leonora Carrington are all captured and interwoven. The relevance here is the detour away from the inner circle of surrealist ideology which tends to be driven by patriarchal standards. Surrealism is the ability to continue to expand and shift ideas so that they do not remain fixed. I can use this as I begin to engage more with the choreography of the final project. However, I tend to be drawn more towards feminism from a Latinx perspective, so we will see how much of the surrealist inner circle maintains its presence. I do like the way the information is organized and accounted for in this book while directly speaking to the art produced.

On the other side, the viewings most influential were Yanira Castro’s Court/Garden and Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealers. Castro’s work encompasses the designed choreography, audience participation, and media installation and sections the piece into three parts.. This work is relevant to my own project because of its attention to the audience’s role in the work. However, by focusing here I am not neglecting my attention to costumes, choreography and media, but if the audiences’ design is not woven into the main components then my outcome will be not so subtle. One would not recognize this device, however, the subtlety of the design makes this experience magical. Out of my research so far, I can weave three different levels of engagement to support my project and involve the audience at different capacities.

Lastly, Sleep Dealers is like watching someone depict the future. While I can only hope Rivera’s future does not come to pass in the era of trump politics. This film is powerful to watch, noting, a sci-fi narrative constructed through the Latina/o perspective. This film at times was hard to sit with because of how real it seems with the current political USA/MX tensions. An important part of the film unites Mexican and Mexican American to overcome the USA’s oppression. This is not a common narrative and was refreshing to see.

Shout outs:
MA by Celia Rowlson-Hall
Borderland Saints by Desiree A. Martin
Silver and Gold by Nao Bustamante

Citations:
Ades, Dawn, Michael Richardson, and Krzysztof Fijałkowski. 2016. The Surrealism Reader: An Anthology of Ideas. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Chadwick, Whitney. 2002. Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement. New York: Thames and Hudson.

González Rita, Noriega Chon, and Howard N. Fox. 2007. Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Castro Yanira. 2014. Court/Garden. Vimeo

            https://vimeo.com/145859179

Rivera, Alex. 2008. Sleep Dealer. DVD. 90 minutes. Maya Entertainment.

Obscura by LROD y Artistas

A short dance-film inspired by Frida Kahlo’s The Wounded Table. I am not only thinking about rituals, offrendas y mi Familia but also what is the camera’s (me essentially) relation to the people in the frame.  I wanted to produce vibrant color in juxtaposition with darkness or the feeling of darkness. Creating worlds where inter-generational populations are included as well in the dance canon. Adelante!

Made by LROD y Artistas
Music: “Death Bed” by Alex Somers (Liminal Remix)
(I do not own the rights)

Hero Project: GoPro + Community

Archive Date: April 30, 2018
Author:
lrodcollection0 Comments

“…everyone who loved sports and adventure wanted a GoPro, and from a niche brand, it moved to being a household name. With GoPro, anyone can be a star. In a context where everyone is self-obsessed and “selfie-obsessed” GoPro’s success was certain. Gopro BE A HERO. Their slogan, and their focus during their entire journey.” – Guilia Berardinetti

What does it mean to be a hero? Hero of what by definition? Why GoPros? What is a love ethic in regards to approach? What makes GoPros and community work important? What is humane about recording people in the community? In capturing care how do I ethically insert the technology and my presence? What is relevant? What is important?

I started out this semester in the deep pit of these questions. The questions were in surplus and I was unsure about how the work would unfold moving forward. I knew in the beginning that I wanted to work with a community and Champion Intergenerational Center, and the center was a great match to gain wide perspectives through the community of generations with the GoPro Technology. However, I was still missing the scholarly backing for this research for developing my approach and foundation. I felt a little lost and unsure at the beginning of this project.

and then…

Fred Rogers appeared 

While Mr. Rogers is most notoriously known for his popular TV show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was more quietly a revolutionary in the pioneering of humane technologies. In the video above we see a humble man make a clear argument for the well-being of children who are absorbing commercialized networking, violence, and inappropriate material through TV’s growing popularity. Mr. Rogers said, “Let’s not get so fascinated by what the technology can do that we forget what it can’t do.” With his argument, he is awarded 20 million for children’s programming that revolutionized young minds forever. The example that Mr. Rogers develops is that the technology can be used for the betterment of humanity and the social platform the TV uses to enhance a young person mind – is limitless. Suddenly I had a lineage to Humane Technology and a framework of care + wellbeing to support my research.

“It’s really easy to fall into the trap of believing that what we do is more
important than what we are. Of course, it’s the opposite that’s true: What
we ultimately determine what we do!” – Fred Rogers

Creative Knot Session

Taking the new information of Mr. Rogers I began to construct my Creative Knot Session for Research Studies. This knot is specifically for the workshop and gathers information that can help forward the research.

Who gets to be a hero was one of the first things I thought when looking through the GoPro webpage. Browse here. So what defines a hero? Merriam Webster records the definition of Hero by 4 main categories:

a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability

b: an illustrious warrior

c: a person admired for achievements and noble qualities

d: one who shows great courage

(Definitions lifted from here)

I am fascinated by the roles that Hero takes on. We go from the extremes of Superman, Ironman, and Wonder Woman to the Doctor, Firefighter, and good samaritan. However, what about the unnoticed heroes that lurk outside of our traditional thinkings? I wanted to explore this in the Creative Knot and with Champion IG Center to recognize those who go unnoticed.

So, thinking ahead that I was going to be integrating myself into the Champion Intergenerational Center, I was thinking about how the guests would wear the technology and what perspectives were central to the end video compilation. Some questions that framed my Creative Knot:

What makes these people heroes compared to everyday heroes? 

What is relevant about filming the interactions of everyday heroes that exist daily vs. the radical interactions of athleticism?

What is it like to be a hero for a day and have your experience captured?

How do peacefulness and tenderness translate on film? What does tenderness look like in actions form?

Here is the first archive of footage (Research Studies peers featured) I gathered and framed by perspectives of movement I was cataloging:

When I think about this stage of research I am experiencing Bell Hooks All about Love reading where she says, “For example, revolutionary new technologies have led us all to accept computers. Our willingness to embrace this “unknown” shows that we are all capable of confronting fears of radical change, that we can cope.” Her words came with such power, I created a vivid response called a Love + Ethic Manifesto. I am drawn to the notion of change and the constant restructuring of how we operate as human beings through interactions and causes. I am searching for radical change step by step inside my own thinking structure and outside of my internal state.

Next came…

Building on Care + Well-being + Ethics

During this course, I read three books that have forever changed my thinking structure: Matters of Care by Maria Puig De La Bellacasa, All about Love by Bell Hooks, and Art of Relevance by Nina Simon. What does care mean? How do we care? What are the staples of caring movement? How are we ethically caring? How do we perform well-being? When using a GoPro what actions of care am I capturing?

Where do I begin? Maria Puig De La Bellacasa’s Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. Bellacasa says, “Care is a human trouble, but this does not make of care a human only matter” (Bellacasa 2017, 2).  Bellacasa uses Toronto’s definition, “care about” vs. “care for” as a means to situate the dimensions of care into effect for aligning with the ethical and political questions that arise per this poignant matter. I realized I was not going to be able to fulfill this project by dropping in and recording with my GoPros. There was much more of myself that I would have to offer in order to understand this approach and community. I wanted to absorb the community, be present, be still with my observations and trusted the work would develop.

Some keys developments:

Being fully present

Actively Listening

Touch (assist a child or elderly navigate space)

Eye Contact

Engaging in a complete conversation, before changing focus.

Smiles and laughing.

Important Quotes:

“I believe relevance unlocks new ways to build deep connections with people who don’t immediately self-identify with our work” (Simon 2016, 23).

“The sooner we start focusing on becoming relevant to the people we most care about “and “Relevance is relative, and people are busy”, not only approaches the word “care” we were just analyzing, but references something other than yourself or desire (Simon 41-42).

“When we see love as a combination of trust, commitment, care, respect, knowledge, and responsibility, we can work on developing these qualities or, if they are already a part of who we are, we can learn to extend them to ourselves” (Hooks 2001, 54).

Champion Intergenerational Center

This part of my journey hits will full force and I still am unable to move past how deeply I am affected by the human beings in this community. I find myself drawn to the energy and goodness that seeps into the foundation of this center. The community is full of bright lights, old and young, energized, thoughtful, and ready to share at any moment.

Here is where I needed to approach with the Love Ethic Hooks suggests, “A love ethic presupposes that everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and well.” (Hooks 2001). How was I going to approach the room and environments I entered? I started by visiting and be apart of the Sign Language Intergenerational class. I made myself available for interactions and conversations. I did not introduce technology into space for a couple visits. Then when I introduced technology I wore the GoPros and did not live film. Making sure I was available for any interactions and questions the community of elders and children might have.

“To live our lives based on the principles of a love ethic (showing care, respect, knowledge, integrity, and the will to cooperate), we have to be courageous” (Hooks 101).

Over my time there the visits, interactions, ways of filming, and containers for footage has shifted drastically. Eventually, many different ages were wearing and capturing footage, Elizabeth Speidel the director was wearing the GoPros and interacting with the community, and I am set up to teach my session with the IG community around GoPro’s, Care, and love rituals. Thinking about the love ethics and love rituals that are primary in this experience, and really reflect the care that happens in this community. We will also bring in our superhero movements to give energy to the room and spark creativity.

When I think about this work I am currently reflecting on my traces and the artist mantras that I created along the way to support the daily intake of information. These tiny mantras have provided me the support when I am too tired, or unsure of what is next.

Artist Mantra

Don’t lose hope.

Do the work.

There is much to be done.

With Love…

Radicalize the space.

Listen actively.

Love accepts.

Challenge to think collectively.

Think more equality and equity.

Who are the love ethic heroes?

We are not alone.

Being an artist keeps me sane.

There is more to be done.

I am constantly rebelling – it’s ok.

Be free to do the work.

Being an artist defies reality.

I have permission to make what I want to make.

I am constantly changing.

Next & Final Phase:

I still have a session to this Wednesday with IG to deepen the footage and love ritual perspectives, and will have a compiled video of edited material by the end of the week that culminates my time there. This last video should run at 6-8 minutes in reality but my end target is 10 minutes.

Editing will be done through my final artistic perspective on the work framed by the community at Champion Intergenerational Center to celebrate their daily heroics and environment of care they share.

I am looking forward to sharing this footage with them, and seeing their reactions when they see themselves on the TV. The celebration of their daily, caregiving, experience, and community witnessed. I am excited to keep working on projects with them and to see where the next process takes us.

Many thanks to all those involved in this project. This research is made possible by Norah Zuniga-Shaw, Humane Technologies Fellowship, Elizabeth Speidel and Champion Intergeneration Center Community, and Research Studies peers.

 

Citation Station:

Bellacasa, María Puig de la. 2017. Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

hooks, bell. 2001. All about love: new visions. New York: Harper Perennial.

Simon, Nina. 2016. The art of relevance. Santa Cruz, CA: Museum 2.0

MASK MAKING

I usually get asked this question a lot: Why the masks?

Well, I started wearing the masks back in early 2014, I didn’t have the context than to the why but I had the feelings. Knowing now that Mestiza or Latinx peoples often struggle with hidden or fractured identities has led me into a deeper investigation of mask and alter-ego studies. Reading many great Latina/o scholarship has enhanced my understanding of the masking culture that is alive an well today in Mexico and the Borderlands. This vein of studies also operates as a creative and productive outlet for my work as an artist.

Back in 2014, I was drawn to omitting my identity and obscure the image of the body onstage. The mask work has added a layer of surrealism that I am researching from a feminist perspective and admire works from Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, and Dorthea Tanning. Masks in these studies stem from Luchador culture which came out of the Tejas Borderlands and is now a pop-culture Mexican staple, however, the use of masks is relevant in Dia De Los Muertos and other traditions.

Starting this semester with a Costume Practicum with Lindsay Simon for 6 hours a week was such an outlet for creativity and production, and gave me time to really understand this process of making masks.

To get started, Lindsay asked I create a storyboard and gather materials. I created an inspiration board (Pinterest) to gather ideas for the Lucha Libre, Animal designs, and LROD masks I was interested in producing. Since I had only made these masks by hand I was ready to produce a pattern so that I could easily make more on a sewing machine rather than hand-stitch. The goal was to experiment with many fabrics and styles to gain experience making the masks and practicing my sewing machine abilities. For the animal heads, what was the next level of design besides making, shaping, and coloring them? I was excited to find out.

Here are some previous masks I have made for my work:

Innominate Performance – LROD + Artists Dance Artists: Sierra Hendrix, Levi Ryan, Kince De Vera, Scotty Flores, Hannah Cavallaro, Becca Blackwell, Molly Levy Lighting: Meg Fox Photo: Devin Munoz

Innominate Performance – LROD + Artists Dance Artists: Sierra Hendrix, Levi Ryan, Kince De Vera, Scotty Flores, Hannah Cavallaro, Becca Blackwell, Molly Levy Lighting: Meg Fox Photo: Devin Munoz

Now the hardest part was figuring out how to pattern the mask, seeing how I had the one I made by hand and the Lucha ones from a previous work. We decided to deconstruct one and go from there. Lindsay and I decided to use my head as the main pattern and build adjustments in as we went.

What was surprising about this process was that every material used needed a different pattern to account for stretch or no-stretch. By the mid-way point of the semester, we had finally gotten the hang of different materials and patterns. Now, we were ready to start adding more details.

In reflection now going through this process, I realize what fabrics I most like to work with for the masks: poly-rayon-spandex blend, lace-mesh w/stretch, spandex, lycra, cotton, sequin mesh, cosplay vinyl w/ stretch. For decor and lace-up low-industrial vinyl ended up being the most suitable. I also used 1in elastic to secure the bottom and string for the lace-up models.

THE WORK

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Mask 1: “Homegrown”

The basic learning.

Mask 2: “Borderlands”

More Structure.

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Mask 3: “Los Muertos”

New Pattern.

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Mask 4: “Rupture”

Full mask design.

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Mask 5:“Pesadilla”

Double layer mask.

Mask 6: Demo “Puebla”

First run on this design

before surging.

Mask 7: “Puebla”

Final project.

Mask 8: “Puebla”

Final Project.

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Mask 9: “Puebla”

Final Project.

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Mask 10: “Stag for Days” Design and stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

Mask 11: “Bunny in Bloom” Design and Stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

Mask 12: “The Revolt” Design and Stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

 

I noticed as the process went on the use of brighter colors started to emerge. I am drawn making more masks with color and expanding the masks to include some other materials such as wire, flowers, studs, gas masks, and more. I am also looking forward to making some more costume pieces for LROD + Artists to work with. While I am eager to go more extravagant I have to remind myself that they also need to be danceable and breathable during performances.

These creative outlets provide my research with necessary fieldwork and experience that aid my MFA thesis and artistic practice while connecting the multidisciplinary vein of research I identify with as a choreographer.

 Until next time – LROD.

Improvisation: Graduate Movement Practice

Archive Date: February 19, 2018
Author:
lrodcollection0 Comments

2/16/2018

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Facilitator: Laura Rodriguez

For my facilitation, I was initially going to do Lisa Nelson’s “Tuning Score” then move into Barbara Dilley’s “Red Square” since they compliment each other nicely. However, we had to rearrange for an exciting Department announcement and I have given the re-structure and some resources for you all.

My foundation for the day was the focus of love, care, and ethics that surround our daily ritual of a rigorous movement practice together. I was also interested in researching some models that I have been working on for developing community connections that can be deepened with every practice using the material from my ancestor’s lineage. So preserving the past connections here but moving forward.

First: The Gift

This piece of paper was given to me as a gift with no ties to any resource or page number. However, I cut it into parts and as each person came into the room I offered them to choose a gift. My hope is that one day I will find its home, but for now, it sets up some wonderful values for space, time, and movement. We used this in our walking structure for our pre-warmup and dropping into connections. We used voice, movement, memory, and care during our interactions and explorations. These words became one of the containers for our time together.

The Outline:

Care + Senses + Imagination + Attentionography

Lineage Building from Lisa Nelson, Barbara Dilley, and Alia Swersky/Karen Nelson. Some viewpoints work has been integrated.

  1. Welcome + Clearing

  2. Gift exercise (vertical space and 360 perceptions): Walking pre-warmup for connection. Exit Space.

  3. 2nd sequence: You are cared for, you are safe (building sensory awareness, listening inner/outer and close and far space): Take a moment to answer your own I am _____________ mantras. Moving practice deepens in space – Group: You are cared for, you are safe mantra incorporating self-mantras and noticings inner and outer. The end was felt and happened collectively.

  4. Reflection: I noticed the warmth, connection, and depth of space gained from these awarenesses. I was able to drop down to many levels with the group and explore movement attention, with my senses inner and outer. I felt at peace to experience what was there, and I was drawn to the other humans in the room. Touch, tenderness, care, warmth, present, here, and open are words I found myself collecting. Everyone shared beautiful reflections and thoughts during this time.

  5. Break for Dept Announcement.

  6. Rigorous Communal Warm-up: to reinvigorate our body after a break I shared a version of a communal warm-up practice for care. Elevated music played to motivate working the body to investigate movement. (vertical space, horizontal space, and 360 perceptions deepened)

  7. Lisa Nelson Tuning Score: Laboratory on composition, communication, and the sense of imagination within a community. Dual dialogue of inner and outer organization, space, time, movement, and desire. We chose collectively to change the “insiders” and “outsiders” to “witnesses” and “doers.” Noting the emphasis on Lisa’s choice to specifically implement these words with an intent.

Lisa Nelson’s Tuning Score: We chose these words to start a 25min dive.

Begin – signal a shift of attention.

Pause – as long as you like or as long as you can (resume movement when you choose).

End – Dancers choice to exit or remain.

Reverse –  movement as far as you can remember without effort, then continue in real time from a new starting point.

Replace – One dancer replaces another dancer’s activity – all dancers exit and begins again.

The collective was off to an energetic start and was well cared for from our rigorous communal warm-up. The group managed 25min and passed through initial reserves quickly. It would be nice to develop towards an hour and a half dive with the score to experience where the “Go” phase happens or when Barabara Dilley would say the “river stage” appears. The point where we are operating without direction and the sequences have aligned. Or we could increase the words used by Lisa Nelson into the score or decrease. The score came to a collective end while noting, we all wanted to continue for a longer duration.

Biography

LISA NELSON is a dance-maker, improvisational performer, and collaborative artist who has been exploring the role of the senses in the performance and observation of movement since the ’70s. From an investigation of video and dance, she developed an approach to real-time editing and performance she calls “Tuning Scores.” Nelson travels widely to perform, teach and create dances and maintains long-term collaborations with other artists, including Steve Paxton, Scott Smith, Daniel Lepkoff and Image Lab. She’s been encouraged by receiving an NY “Bessie” Dance and Performance Award and an Alpert Award in the Arts. She has co-edited Contact Quarterly dance and improvisation journal since 1976. In recent years, she’s been constructing two interactive computer video games with the Brussels publisher Contredanse that provide tools for players within a field of movement, sound, and touch.

http://www.movementresearch.org/publishing/?q=node/305

Contact Quarterly click here. 

8. Closing Circle: Share – energy in a close circle with I am Mantras.

There was so much care and charge in the room.



Creative Knot: GoPro: Hero Project

Creative Sandbox:

  • Opening: We will arrive together.

  • I will deliver a short content re-cap of the project, questions, and an overview of our time together.

  • We will move through some specific instruction (tasks, love rituals, experiments) in pairs and groups to establish some groundwork.

  • Then we will move into a more creative, play, open space for curiosity and input.

  • Sharing feedback and ideas around using the GoPro through interactions.

  • Closing Ritual.

“…everyone who loved sports and adventure wanted a GoPro, and from a niche brand, it moved to being a household name. With GoPro, anyone can be a star. In a context where everyone is self-obsessed and “selfie-obsessed” GoPro’s success was certain. Gopro BE A HERO. Their slogan, and their focus during their entire journey.”(Berardinetti 2015, 32)

When we think of the self during this time of recurring narcissism we begin to see how disconnected we are from the community. This, of course, is not new and has come in waves in the past like during the 70s when our society experienced what is known as the “me generation” and once again as the world wide web has embedded our way of life with the millennial generations oversaturation of technology. While my research is not grounded in psychological studies of this content it is apart of the research to our current situation in a state of “glorified self-personas.” Leading me to curiosity about GoPro’s mission to BE A HERO or BE A STAR when these captures are the majority of individual experiences.

What I find interesting, is the need to capture the extremes of one’s life and showcase these events in a digital public space. I see how this is beneficial for humans who will not have an opportunity or lack the skill to do what some of the professionals do on these films, but seems disconnected to the being a hero of only one. Now don’t get me wrong some of these captures are breathtaking and beautiful, but this leaves me questioning the purpose behind “be a hero” or “be a star” in context to individuality and “selfism” vs. community and “other”.

  • Here watch this and think about what clip grabs your attention the most?

  • Hang on to your answer for Tuesday.

GoPro is a billion dollar company and was specifically designed for the athlete and adventure seekers to capture their extreme experiences. GoPro has since expanded to include different genre to capture that include, music, animals, nature, short films, and so on. This product was the innovation of the video camera and re-centered the person’s perspective into the film, while also providing selfie stick, Karma, or Drone to include everyone back into the picture. However, I am most interested in using the GoPro Hero model to capture community interactions around qualities of care, tenderness, peacefulness, and ethics. Mostly thinking about these questions:

What makes these people heroes compared to everyday heroes? 

What is relevant about filming the interactions of everyday heroes that exist daily vs. the radical interactions of athleticism?

What is it like to be a hero for a day and have your experience captured?

How do peacefulness and tenderness translate on film? What does tenderness look like in actions form?

Redirecting back to Mr. Rogers, I find that his method for approaching his television mission for finding “peacefulness” on the television was in the way he delivered his programming. In reading an article by Buczinsky he says, “We have come through the initial rush of constant information, the euphoria of video screen magic, and the tingle of social media connectivity, and on the other side, we have found its hollowness”(Buczinsky 11). Finding the relevance of wanting to connect back to the community, to be seen face to face, or to engage in human interaction is a goal that I believe serves this research under Norah Zuniga-Shaw’s Humane Technology Research. This project also incorporates the use and approach with technology to include tenderness Mr. Rogers provided its viewers.

I am interested in capturing community through interactions that need attention to be showcased and held to equal standards of the GoPro mission. I am also still debating how I will edit the film, cinematic or video art style since this requires some thoughts on how the approach is delivered, and the material is being captured. We will experiment with the headgear and harness straps for the GoPro since each provides different perspectives. I am interested in making art with the community – co-authorship.

Here are two videos to browse from GoPro for a Cause category, there are some interesting aspects to the perspectives used to capture different movements, children, and emotion:

https://gopro.com/channel/gopro-for-a-cause/gopro-cause-building-homes-for-children-in-africa

https://gopro.com/channel/gopro-for-a-cause/a-blind-man-and-his-armless-friend-plant-a-forest-in-china

****These films are professionally from GoPro and have use of all GoPro products in order to create along with documentary filming/production.

With Care. See you soon.

Key Thoughts: Care + Relevance + Love

Archive Date: February 11, 2018
Author:
lrodcollection0 Comments

Research Studies: Wrap up of thoughts on Art + Love + Relevance + Ethics of Care

At first, I was really bogged down with the Maria Puig De La Bellacasa’s Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. My grandmother went through the adult care system and suffered greatly from overmedication, lack of care, and oversights made in her diagnosis with Dementia and Lewy Bodies. This experience was traumatic, and when she found her end, I was relieved that she no longer suffered. Her place was at home, and the detachment from her home left her in limbo. Since the experience with my grandmother, the discomforts surrounding care and ethics have been on my mind.

However, after some time this reading began to open up. Bellacasa says, “Care is a human trouble, but this does not make of care a human only matter”(Bellacasa 2017, 2) I pause here because I noticed my own relationship with care is rooted in human, and my view of care reduces to only thinking of the human as beneficiary. I enjoyed how Bellacasa and scholars bring in multiple areas in which care can be applied – to the doing, repairing and continuing – weaving into the everyday world. Care is what we do on a daily basis. Take care of children, bills, self, others, body, friendships, lawns, plants, homes, health, animals, planet, solar system, water, pollution, car, schoolwork, politics, global warming, toxic waste, trash, and so on…

Bellacasa moves to consider the “three dimensions of care – labor/work, affect/affections, ethics/politics” which helps to build out the model for the different levels of integration each of these can have per situation – or lack (Bellacasa 5). By breaking down these dimensions it becomes easier to grasp how each example begins to make sense – thinking with these considerations. I most enjoyed the example Bellacasa gives here, “…one can also love intensely without committing to the “work of love,” without involvement in the sometimes tedious maintenance of a relation” (Bellacasa 5). Here the example gives us a model that lacks affectivity. I can also relate this to my first marriage where there was no work in the garden of our relationship, and the relationship served one person while burdening myself. Bellacasa uses Toronto’s definition, “care about” vs. “care for” as a means to situate the dimensions of care into effect for aligning with the ethical and political questions that arise per this poignant matter.

What I most appreciated from this dense article is the feminist lens it looks through. The breakdown of carers that is provided along with the consideration of the sphere “care” is applied in today’s society does model for a collective change or should I say awareness. In a moment of utter saturation during this reading, I came across a call to action of Bellacasa’s, “So rather than give up on care because it is enlisted in purposes we might deplore, we need to have its meanings debated, unpacked, and reenacted in an implicated way that responds to the present. Yes! Not only does this get me excited about care in relevance to present, but is an example of a feminist approach to look at other areas needing the same reconfigurations.

How relevant the ethos this book gains…I will have to continue to read Bellacasa’s work in hopes to deepen my practice of questioning the worlds of care.

The Art of Relevance by Nina Simon

Reading this book aligned so much with my core thinking. Every page made me excited that Nina Simon had taken the time to put these words on paper. Simon started by saying “Relevance is a paradox” which gave me a chuckle right away (Simon 2016, 23). However, I agree it is a complex, contradicting, and almost absurd effort to be relevant. Time is the dictator in the situation that overcomes all relevance, and more importantly, relevance is more of a time warp, to each individual, family, community, town, city, town, state, country, continent, and the planet. Could also be applied to other species, however, to not overcomplicate let’s stay with humans.

Usually, for art to be absorbed, we rely on the audience and this book focuses on the models and approaches used to be considered, while also focusing on the curiosity, humility, and openness of the individuals who produce art. Including the theorists in the study of relevance Deirdre Wilson & Dan Sperber’s “positive cognitive effect” and “effort” criteria aids in Nina Simon’s stand for the possibilities of relevance (Simon 32). They also act as lenses to look through for all the examples provided throughout the book. I thought this was helpful in providing a structure to the research that is collected in this book and demonstrated a way to formulate when applying ideas to art.

One of my favorite sections was the Two Delusions about Relevance. Discovering the relative and the linear. Simon says, “The sooner we start focusing on becoming relevant to the people we most care about “and “Relevance is relative, and people are busy”, not only approaches the word “care” we were just analyzing, but references something other than yourself or desire (Simon 41-42). This shifts the way we think about relevance and approach of care to the matter and points to the heightened awareness around the “practice of empathy” that is brought up throughout this reading (Simon 51). Empathy and care are utilized when opening the door to relevance, and noting that this door is always in process – is important, while considering the inner discomforts one might have while making progress outside the sphere of selfism. Similar to my own experience with culture shock or dominate white spaces that are more conservative, here I am actively practicing empathy and meeting people where they are. This is the space where together we can learn empathy and relevance for other cultures, ideas, languages, and acceptance. I enjoyed the architectural language: threshold of fear (Simon 68). 

all about love by Bell Hooks

In summary Bell Hooks’s, approaches love through a feminist lens and apply an approach to care and ethics that is all too relevant.

Hooks’s says, “When we see love as a combination of trust, commitment, care, respect, knowledge, and responsibility, we can work on developing these qualities or, if they are already a part of who we are, we can learn to extend them to ourselves” (Hooks 2001, 54).

Love is a nebula of qualities, and with this statement suggests the constant work needed to understand the complex idea of love. When reading Hooks’ book I began to find relevance in the fluidity of love and the many ways the current construct/model for love can be disrupted. On societies level, the consideration is raised to address the relationships of love we have and how on many levels they are a paradox to the very word. The notion of love ethic Hooks introduces saturates my being and awakens my own internal restructuring framework/blueprints for renovation. Hooks suggests, “A love ethic presupposes that everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and well.” By accepting this notion we are accepting the transformation of our very foundational structure. The work seems unaccessible almost defeating. To access this level might take lifetimes, but one I would be hopeful in enacting immediately.

Hooks wrote this book in 2001 and the writing is relevant today. Noting, “Talking to a university audience recently I expressed my faith in the power of white people to speak out against racism, challenging and changing prejudice – empathetically stating that I definitely believe we can all change our minds and actions” (Hooks 89).

“There is a gap between the values they claim to hold and their willingness to do the work of connection thought and action, theory and practice to realize these values and thus create a more just society” (Hooks 90).

“Fear of radical changes leads many citizens of our nation to betray their minds and hearts” (Hooks 91).

“Our willingness to embrace this “unknown” shows that we are all capable of confronting fears of radical change, that we can cope” (Hooks 91).

We are all witnessing the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor, between the haves and the have-nots”(Hooks 123).

Eighteen years have passed since Hooks’s words were written, and we are witnessing the surge of these matters at hand. It saddens me greatly that in an age of great knowledge, success, and technology that the world is distressed by matters of love, care, relevance, and acceptance. The machine at the structural core is off and could use a reconfiguration on the large-scale. On matters of racism, classism, greed, capitalism, consumerism, and privilege – another time.

Don’t lose hope.

Do the work.

There is much to be done.

With Love…

 

Citations:

Bellacasa, María Puig de la. 2017. Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

hooks, bell. 2001. All about love: new visions. New York: Harper Perennial.

Simon, Nina. 2016. The art of relevance. Santa Cruz, CA: Museum 2.0

Humane Technology: Fred Rogers

Archive Date: January 20, 2018
Author:
lrodcollection1 Comment

When I was a child I so much enjoyed watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I found this show to be unique in its approach to different topics that my parents or other adults would shy away from at the time. Mr. Rogers provided a model for courage, bravery, and an approach to tough topics that gave me a great sense of joy, inclusion, and understanding. I also received an example of connection and comfort that arose from the content of this show. I do also know I am about to connect yet another white male figure to the cannon of intermedia studies, however, this is relevant to the Hero Project I am working on with the Champion Intergenerational Center.

According to Hedda Sharapan, one of the main consultants for the Fred Rogers Communications philosophy recalls,

“Fred felt strongly that “screens” should not be used as a substitute for human communication. He originally named our production company Family Communications, because his goal was to create experiences that parents and children would watch together and talk about. He firmly believed the best technology connects children with others and the world around them in positive ways.”

In an age where Mr. Roger’s philosophy seems to fade away, I recall this episode from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood examining technology, connection, and learning, please click here. There is currently no getting away from the fact that the digital space is impeding on the analog spaces, and any source for course correction has long past. Mr. Rogers said, “Let’s not get so fascinated by what the technology can do that we forget what it can’t do.” I think the fascination has overtaken our lives and we are slowly forgetting its limitations. This situation is the one I am consumed with at the moment. How can we not forget about love, empathy, joy, relevance, and human connection and interaction? It can be hard to recognize the work that is being done in the realms of technology, film, and TV that address these concerns.

While I connect with my own experience watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood I am also looking at my own children’s consumption and reliance on the screen. I am constantly struggling with the relationship my children have with screens. Noting that this applies to my own struggle I have with disconnecting. I feel like I am constantly trying to find time to enjoy communication and interact by installing no screens at dinnertime, timed interactions, reading a book time, and blackout weekends. However, with all these new provisions to safeguard a child’s learning, I still find a struggle as society becomes more and more embedded through the screen. Here are some recent stats on daily intake. Also see here. 

Is this how it is going to be? Is the humane approach now to find ways to disconnect from the screen and reconnect with the body, environment, and people around us? Or is the humane way to provide content that enhances the connections in the digital space? Maybe it is both at this point.

Considering how TV and screen time can be humane, I glance over at the film industry statistics, which currently claims globally 41.2 billion dollars in 2017. My Humane technology project under Norah Zuniga Shaw’s research is in film and animation, so the impact of the rising power of film interests me. Check out some of the film industries projected numbers here. These numbers raise concern that our relationship towards film is constantly growing in popularity, and the rise of Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks films’ continue to be powerhouses in children’s content. Does the content of the films allow us a moment to escape our lives by providing us with 2-3 hours of visual entertainment? Or the chance to engage in other worlds, human interactions, different experiences, and problem solve? Is this considered humane?

I guess it all comes down to the content provided. I recently reflect on watching the Pixar movie COCO, I consider this experience of witnessing my own culture and family dynamics represented with care, so powerfully on a screen – to be humane. To see for once on the big screen in animation a clear representation of what it means to be Latina/o had a profound impact on me – one I will not forget. Yes, this movie also spoke to my inner child and my obsession surrounding death culture. More on that later.

While these thoughts are just some of the sensibilities I am forming around my project -there is much more to consider. The Champion Intergenerational Center I will be working with provides the opportunity for older and younger people to interact around well-being together.  Some of my growing questions at the moment include: What content needs to be seen? What are the representations I can provide with care? How is my approach considering love and empathy through film?

In 1969 Mr. Rogers made claim and was awarded 20 million to provide a platform of care to children with a television show via the public access network. This show was revolutionary for its time and has been an inspiration for showing the way to deliver content with care. Watch Mr. Rogers give his testimony…

The video above continues to move and inspire me. Not only with Mr. Roger’s ability to provide a sound argument but with the care and approach to his material. Mr. Rogers was able to transform public television and strategically provide an alternative for growing young minds. I think there is much to learn from Mr. Roger’s in the delivery of care and well-being.

Mr. Rogers, you were a pioneer and innovator in the humane technology field.

Key Thoughts: Relevant images while making with reality

Archive Date: January 18, 2018
Author:
lrodcollection0 Comments

In reading Nina Simon’s The Art Of Relevance I was struck with the paradox of relevance she writes about in her exploratory mission. Quoting Simon, “I believe relevance unlocks new ways to build deep connections with people who don’t immediately self-identify with our work” and “I believe relevance is the key to a locked room where meaning lives” (Simon 2016, 23) I am fascinated with keys, windows, doors, and paths in general in an alternative reality. Finding through lines in an age of multiplicity is one that I am usually always seeking, so I am excited to continue this reading on relevance. 

simon_w_cover-1.jpg

As a choreographer, my intention is usually based on making work that is relevant and connects to others and information, however, the process of this is not focused on the making of meaning. If I set out to make a work of meaning it usually will become restricted to whatever meaning I am searching for through one perspective – my own. In the age of multiplicity and knowledge from those that consume art has become and is a state of what I feel relates to consumerism. Just as branding has become integrated into the ways we “market” our digital selves as a means to connect with consumers. These ways of connecting can become restricting.

Sometimes I think relevance is just meeting a moment at that moment it appears. Sometimes digging into the research speaks a common language adding layers of multiplicity while still remaining transparent. This area is the key.

More to come on “what is relevant” as an art form.

 Simon, Nina. 2016. The Art Of Relevance. Santa Cruz, CA: Museum 2.0.

Intermedia || Interactive Audience

For our last study this semester, we were thinking about how the audience can participate while also folding in the first two studies and reshaping the work. We considered taking an easy approach to lighting and technology limiting down to what and why we use tech, light, sound and movement. We chose to begin with making a dinner table set with place settings digitally. This work was inspired by Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party (1974-79), a monumental feminist work of its time. Then, we decided to interact by having our cellphones engaged in the work. To talk through with the audience, to text other performers, and capture video of the event. We also set up interactive movement study to see if the audience would pick it up and – they did!

Feel free to skip through:

In reflection, this work really seemed to be the easiest to complete, and we found a balance between interactions, technology, and movement that seemed to create a holistic environment. While it is important to consider what Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message”… well, we are responding to the message (Dixon 2004). Couple key questions sit on my mind: What are we saying with the technology we are in collaboration with? What are the stakes that surround this interdisciplinary landscape? The work feels open, free, and uncontained to a specific genre. In a sense Intermedia is freedom.

While maintaining a sense of freedom, I turn to Faye Driscoll’s (2014) Thank You For Coming: Attendance has been a huge influence on the work I do in considering interactivity and connection with the audience. I referenced Faye’s work in the earlier blog post. So when we talk about the community making the work and co-creating, co-authoring, co-generating the outcome – we are interested in separating from technology for a moment to connect. This is a driving part of the work created in the final study. However, we demonstrated the interference technology has in our daily life. The way we connect through media in order to interact has certainly come full force.

Take a moment to enjoy this work and commentary:

 As the semester came to a close, Norah Zuniga-Shaw asked us what Intermedia is? I responded:

Intermedia is a radical space that allows for interactive engagement that activates the performers, technology, and audience to explore a liminality of openness. This interdisciplinary space transforms the environment to teleport all parties to a sub-dimension of the unknown. Intermedia creates a visual distortion and appetite fostering the collaboration of technological humanness.

Intermedia moves without a container and allows your imagination to run in any direction possible. I gained more insight into the importance of light/projection, how to formulate collaboration within this setting, and how to build a structure around integrating technology. While also learning the array of equipment and programs in the MOLA lab. I am leaving this course with more questions than I entered, but I feel ready to engage and continue the exploration forward. Digital self-signing off for now.

Sources:

Dixon, Steve. 2004. “The Digital Double.” New Visions in Performance: “The Impact of Digital Technologies. Ed. Gavin Carver. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger, 2004. Print.

Driscoll, Faye. 2014. Thank You For Coming: Attendance. (Film) Walker Art Center. Published 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlB3MrBr2_M

Intermedia || Media First

Archive Date: December 14, 2017
Author:
lrodcollection1 Comment

Texture inspires movement, environment, and sound were the starting point for our next study. Our next task gave us a moment of pause to reflect on how we can enter into a work from a different starting point. We recorded and photographed various videos with movement in them to project throughout the campus. Then, we had a full day of sifting through the material and trying different captures on different placements within MOLA.

After selecting the images our next task was to see where they were going to be installed in the space. So we used the arch of mesh to create a container for the work, as well, using the scrim and wall to project on. Next, came the movement invention and exploration. This project was challenging since the majority of our group needed to be behind the scenes working on Isadora, Matrix, and the lighting. However, the goal for us was to accomplish a welcoming environment in a fluid space for the audience. To me, this was our most challenging study, but it paid off in understanding how to merge movement when media comes first.

Developing the movement to suit moving images takes awareness, quality, and timing to not overload the audience’s visual capacity. We found it helpful to juxtapose the images with more movement with stillness, and the more static images with more movement. Mimicking movement from the screen was also a good way to be informed by the media.

Overall, a more developed version of the media first study would be projection mapping. I have listed here work by Dandypunk who puts the movement in response to the media in order to create a narrative. Which is a different direction that the space we created, but, the work is a good example a fully realized form of media first that show the multiplicity of choice in within Intermedia work.

The Alchemy of Light by Dandypunk:

Intermedia || Merging Reflection

Archive Date: December 14, 2017
Author:
lrodcollection0 Comments

In collaboration with my colleagues, we set out to produce a digital double investigation. Our goals included examining the Double as Reflection, suggested from Steve Dixon’s “The Digital Double” (2004) essay which I reflected previously on here. From this project, we realized that we were attracted to textures, themes, and discovered multiple ways to find a reflection at different levels of technological entanglement. Take a moment to skip through.

One challenge that we encountered was in using the video feedback loop, top-down camera, projection, and lighting to gain different perspectives of the space, it appeared that the movement we created needed to shift per examination. Incorporating The Isadora program, live sound, and lighting to bring these portraits together merged with the movement and use of the material was essential and grounding components to this project.

The digital double in the sense of reflection draws me to the consciousness that the real body maintains throughout the performance. I found it interesting that most of the time the real-life performer needs to witness the digital in reflection. Dixon notes, “This has been exacerbated by paradoxical rhetoric of disembodiment and virtual bodies, which have turned ideas of corporeal reality full circle by the claim that the digital body has equal status and (authenticity) to the biological one” (Dixon 2004, 24). During this study, the concept did cross my mind of the equality of images, and I found myself drawn to both bodies at different times. I begin to speak about this on this page with Agent Ruby and the sense of awareness of consciousness through AI that has developed.

For this project, I appreciated this viewing:

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Fase (1982) is so simple from a current technological standpoint but is still so mesmerizing to watch. Here light, shadow, film, and movement create the dance – enhance the dance. One of the parts that most interests me is at 7:18 of this film. Noting that from the first half of the film space transforms and they are now performing on their shadows in a fully saturated blue space.

Glancing into the future I was struck by this digital double. While the concept is simple seems simple what transpires is exhilarating.

This is CO: LATERAL (2016) by Joao Martinho Moura

Moura’s work with the digital double here is literally electrifying itself. I appreciate how in this work the dancer is in the dark while the emphasis is put on the double.  The bold lighting against the blackened stage gives a stark contrast platform for the double to stand out.  In a sense this double take on a dominant force on stage and provides a strong presence in the work following along with Dixon’s models.

The most important experience I had from this study is the merger of technology and body with intention. Questioning why /how we implement technology into the work was at the forefront of this study to think about as a group. The question: How we collaborate with technology? Continued forward into our next studies.

Sources:

De Keersmaeker, Anne Teresa, and Michele Anne de Mey. 1982. “Fase.” (Film) Director Thierry de Mey. Music Robert Reich.

Dixon. Steve. 2004. “The Digital Double.” New Visions in Performance: The Impact of Digital Technologies. Ed. Gavin Carver. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger. Print

The Internal | Connecting | Creative Process

Date: October 26, 2017

Two levels in Creative process v.210

Mapping out a creative process to connect two parts of my research resonating with Inside the room and Outside the room branches. Inside the room’s design is led by the Experiment thread, while Outside the room reflects the Research thread. I was compiling this information from a word bank created in Grad Composition class with Professor Susan Van Pelt Petry and peers. We then each took the word bank and made a visual map of our own individual creative process.

For my own challenge, I only used each word one time and practiced this assignment utilizing a present moment embodiment. Meaning, I only allowed myself one piece of paper with no option to have a do-over. Utilizing this assignment as a challenge I was aware of my devising boundaries. This project created a meditative space for me to sit with my pen to the paper, and process my process. Which usually feels meta, however, this project was calming while being informative. Most of my reflections have happened through a stream of consciousness or analytical essay, so it felt good to move towards a tangible medium to flush out information.

Further noting the attention and weight of each word resonating within my body and I continue to let these words reconfigure inside my body. A digital roadway on the frontier of inter-connectivity pulsing, sparking and transferring connections that re-wires and retracts information before surging it back out again.

The system is operating. 

I recognize these maps are abundant within my body, mind and are the containers to hold, organize, connect information used to make co-creative spaces. They are roadways of information. Living knowledge intrigues me as I delve into the internal self of producing art. Maybe the cyborg self is emerging underneath the surface below my skin and responds to the familiarity of the motherboard. While the image below relates to this emerging, I examine the depths and intricacies that are possible in overriding.

Cyborg Self Reflection | Awakening

In trying to navigate my own cyborg self-relationship I am drawn to this quote by Donna Haraway a professor, consciousness, and feminist scholar, “Cyborg writing is about the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other” (Haraway 2016, 55). My journey over the past five years has sent me plunging into words, writing, and language – preparing me for my conversations, arguments, and discourse today. Sometimes my consciousness rejects my impulse to respond, and my unconsciousness delivers connectors to reconnect broken bridges of thought. Tracing the map above throughout my creative process enables me to redirect how I am thinking, feeling, and exploring the material.

Responding to a recent visit by Vida Midgelow who presented at the DSA inaugural Scholarly Conference and is a Professor in Dance and Choreographic Studies at Middlesex University London says, “Coming into language is a significant process through which experiential, material and emergent forms of knowledge can be foregrounded, processed and shared” (Midgelow 1994). Previously, I rarely spoke my stance or dared to share the perspectives that ran rampant in my mind.

The information comes to me as this digital space allows me to write about these developing curiosities that are awakening. Identifying as an “other,” I do claim the tools to unearth my potential as a choreographic researcher, scholar, and free-thinker to engage in practices that move humanity towards change. Structures, rules, and traditions can be broken and reconfigured to make manifest new ways of operating that enhance artistic ability, connect technology and humanity, and revolutionize the central core of art making.

Free Motherboard Vector Art

The above image is how I imagine the framework for my discourse of choreographic research operating. The motherboard vector art is part – object – abstract – micro-processing –  unit –  internet integrated – modern – binary that projects future technological advances – or human.

 

Works Cited

Haraway, Donna J. and Cary Wolfe. 2016. Manifestly Haraway. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. https://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed October 25, 2017).

Midgelow, Vida. and Jane Bacon. 2014. “Creative Articulation Practice (CAP).”                                      Forthcoming in Choreographic Practices. 5[2]                                                                                  https://www.academia.edu/9956868/Creative_Articulations_Process_CAP_  (accessed October 25, 2017)

Outletting Creativity

Designed in Photoshop by LROD

Designed in Photoshop by LROD

369 human beings perished in the earthquake this past year in Mexico City. My family which still resides in Mexico was safe and unharmed, however, family friends lost homes and loved ones. I felt drawn to create a visual remembrance for those who did not survive. Using Photoshop I layered and edited 3 images together to create the above work.

Dia de Los Muertos is central in this photo since it is the day we can reconnect with the lost. This ceremony provides ways for the community to come together in celebration of the lives lived before. Memories re-lived and shared for the next generations to meet and understand the importance of family lineages moving forward.

Home Alter: Living Forward

Home Alter: Dedicated to mi abuela Martinez y mi Tio Rubio
Design: LROD + Becky Rubio
Lighting: Meg Fox
Photo: Devin Marie Munoz

What does it mean to remember someone when they have passed on. To hold onto the memories in order to keep them alive means so much to those who celebrate Dia de Los Muertos and invest in a joyous death culture. My home alter has developed from my desire to connect with my loved ones. Home alters are still huge focal points of homes in southern Mexico. These spaces are the heartbeat of the home usually consuming up to half or sometimes a full room. The alters have different components to help the loved ones make their way back to the living on special occasions such as marigolds, fire, food, and candles. Symbolic meanings and religious meanings entangle in what is pagan and what is holy. Some might find this joining of spiritual and corporal morbid. However, in order to grieve one must celebrate the life lost by having a moment each year to share the stories of loved ones with younger generations is important and keeps the ancestry in tacked.

The work here makes visible the deep connection and importance to those we have lost. My small daily moments with loved ones whom I can no longer visit or call helps me move life itself forward. I am my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother and so on. I am my father, my grandfather, my great grandfather and so on. Branches of love, care, and family are the ones I desire most as my lineage expands and decays.