This ongoing project has created a venue for me to enact the many strange ideas that come to me about experiences I could provide for an audience.photo by Bren Photography
Because my artwork is experiential and experimental, it takes myriad forms. I have had audience members crawl through a tunnel, make prolonged eye contact, play a game, sit in complete darkness surrounded by sounds, reveal things about their lives, solve a puzzle, or slide down a slide. I like touching people and making people touch each other. I like to make art which must be acted upon by the audience in order to function. I like to make art that challenges people and makes them uncomfortable. I often use an element of fun in my work. The juxtaposition of melancholy and play reflect my interest in childhood feelings—that of innocent, cozy joy, and the jolt of learning dark truths about the world.
In 2014, I was in Anam Cara Theater Company's experimental theater ensemble and I kept writing pieces which could not be performed on stage. “Let's use the closet,” I'd say, “the ceiling, the parking lot--lets put the audience on the stage; lets' build something and put them inside it!” I realized I needed a venue for controlling the audience in my own unorthodox ways. I wanted to create a journey for them: an immersive experience. I had been obsessed with Sleep No More for years, even though I had never seen it. I loved the idea that the play happens in the room with you and all around you and you are inside it.
I love immersive worlds, whether it's a spectacular opera house or the simple escapism of a good novel. I have always liked the feeling of being invited into a world that is other than my daily life. For years I have been building “adult forts” in my house. I never outgrew my childhood love of building small spaces to crawl inside and play in. Last year I found myself living alone in the large downstairs part of my house and I thought, this is it: time to create my dream of an “art house”--different strange environments in each room with performers doing various interactive things. I was very afraid of the whole thing: the scope, the disassembly of my living space, the fear that no one would come, but it has turned out to be the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Sometimes it is the bane of my existence, but ultimately it's my life's work.