The Splits - mixed media print, ed. 1/3 (2008)

While working on The Splits, I was interested in ideas of sustainability. I wanted to look at the term when removed from its realms of most common and comfortable use, namely the ecological, economical, and educational. Policy work and product knowledge have turned "being sustainable" and those who practice into the latest fad religion. I have no problem with environmental and social awareness being popular; vast numbers are crucial for a movement to succeed. However, I also find that in the most recent panic to save our planet, as with any crisis, many go through the motions and follow the steps they are being told to follow, hoping for a miracle. What is missing here is personal connection; the understanding of what sustainable practices can realistically achieve and also one's place within the grand scheme of things.
I will be the first to admit that
a) I have a limited understanding of the processes of our global environment and how my choices physically affect them, and
b) I have next to no understanding of how I fit into the bigger picture of human existence.
These both seem unmanageable.
In order for me to begin to contemplate these ideas, I needed to start from a familiar place. Before I could intellectually tackle sustainable living on a social (global and/or local) scale, I wanted to first explore what sustainable living means when rendered down to the individual body. Using my own body and experience as reference points, I took stock of how my actions and decisions play out within my daily life. Manageable. In the end, I suppose I was using this project as a sort of therapy. By working closely with images of my own body (and the not-so-nice things I, until recently, routinely did to it) for a sustained period of time, I was forced to really look, really see what 'footprint' I've left on myself. Using my body to create these images was highly cathartic, almost as if I were pulling back from the abstraction of my self-image and re-inserting myself into physical reality. Is the way I exist within my body a reflection of how I exist within my living space? My community? My planet? I believe that these realms are separate, yet interconnected. Where are the gaps, the splits between them?


Thinking about landscapes: another afternoon.

What is it in a landscape that can invoke such deep emotion?
I have to stop and catch my breath whenever I look out across golden fields underneath the enormous Prairie sky. There is a physical reaction in my chest each time I find both the mountains and the Pacific within my view. This sudden rush of blood from the heart to other areas of the body, is spurred by a vision, like catching sight of your true love following a long absence.

It's something more than being in awe of the forces of nature.

Is it some sort of primitive bond to other Mother Earth? This description seems to fall short; the feeling more akin to the sensual realm than the familial. Though I feel infinitely small in the presence of a vast landscape, the relationship between myself and it feels like more of a connection between lovers than between parent and child.
Where does the Romance come from?

Can we, in manipulating our landscapes, altering them to suit our way of living, ever hope to replicate that feeling of a swelling heart or stolen breath inspired by the natural world?
Do the alterations and additions in themselves deny the possibility?

works in progress