Glass + Installation Art
FUTURE MACHINE, 2017
In 2017 I was involved with the creation of a collaborative installation with local Seattle art group Electric Coffin, alongside other collaborators. In the Illumination segment, we explored how poetic and symbolic associations between the naturally occurring phenomenon of light and the expansion of acquired knowledge. Light—and who possessed it, stole it, or squandered it—gave form and reflection to the characters and narratives that explained the natural world and interpersonal relationships.
The glass hand in the Illumination segment was modeled after the hand in “The Creation of Adam” from Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. In the original fresco, God reaches down with an outstretched finger to impart the spark of knowledge and consciousness; I wanted to reinterpret this concept of information transmission and ask what is the value in possessing that information in years to come. I created the larger than life hand out of glass containing uranium oxide to produce an unnatural quality of light, referencing the retro-futuristic ideal of the past. There is a menacing feeling behind the radioactive glow, and although it represents the technological progress we have made it also alludes to the dangers that humanity presents itself. Although humankind’s relationship with radioactive material has allowed us to harness the energy of splitting atoms, it has also given us the power to destroy the very planet we live on. Out of the finger of the hand dangles a USB cord, ready to impart the spark of information- but what do we do with it?
At this pivotal point in human history the choices we make and our societal values will shape and determine whether unlimited access to information will enlighten or consume us.
Sanctuary , 2016
In creating Sanctuary, I wanted to create a site specific installation that explores issues of immigration and emigration. Immigration is an incredibly contentious issue in both Europe and the United States, but the stark realities facing millions of people today are impossible to ignore. Every day there are new reports of migrants being rescued from boats in the Mediterranean, many being split up from their families in harrowing exoduses from their homes. Currently, the UN estimates there are 21,300,000 refugees in the world with half of that number being under 18 years old. Through all of this Sweden has sheltered the most refugees per capita in Europe, something that speaks to the incredible generosity of the Swedish people. As an American it is not my place nor intent to speak on whether certain policies in Sweden have been right or wrong. Rather, in creating Sanctuary I wanted to explore ideas of connectedness and to ask what the value of the individual is in the whole through creating larger forms constructed of smaller elements.
The flower depicted in Sanctuary is Linnaea Borealis, otherwise known as the ‘Twin Flower’. The Twin Flower is native to where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest of the US, as well as being the provincial flower of Småland in Sweden. Growing in small, paired clusters each flower seems insignificant, but when hundreds of flowers are grouped together they form a complex and beautiful weave. In Sanctuary, these flowers form a larger structure that conveys safety and protection, but what happens when the flowers are separated?
They still represent something greater, in the same way that people moving from one country or culture to another can share their strengths and ideas. In purchasing a flower you can directly impact people in need- a portion of the proceeds from each flower goes to the UN Refugee Agency. The UNHCR is currently one of the most highly regarded organizations helping refugees and by purchasing a flower in Sanctuary you can help those that need it most.
Over a hundred years ago my family emigrated from Helsingborg and Stockholm to the United States, similar to the hundreds of thousands that have come to Europe from the Middle East in the past decade. I hope that in returning to Sweden and creating this piece I can illuminate the connections we all share regardless of the borders that we've crossed.