ARE YOU DYING IN THE DESERT?
2017 installation
inkjet photographs printed on silk; clay, wire, and soft sculptures; cacti specimen (Euphorbia ingens); video; sound

 

There is a dark magic in the desert’s call to me, like a mesmerizing siren, or a bright light I cannot look away from. It is a brutal and unforgiving environment and is still home to countless extraordinary and unassuming organisms that make up a delicate ecosystem. How is such a ruthless landscape so alluring, calming, and magnetic? How does such a barren place give birth to so much life? My infatuation is fed by the knowledge that just a few small errors could lead to my own death out there.

 

Are you dying in the desert? is my interpretation of one’s death in this severe environment. Dehydration would likely cause changes in vision, while exaggerated elements of real life would border on hallucinations. Though cruel, these symptoms could also lead to a stunning and psychedelic encore in your final moments, if one can appreciate it that way.

 

This work dances with the ‘dark magic’ I found in the desert, as if it were a metaphor for a personified Death who once called to me. As someone who nearly took their own life in adulthood, who at one time craved and desired death, it addresses the evolution from idolizing it to having an unusually “matter-of-fact” relationship with it. Death is inevitable: we will all die. This work is an extension of acknowledging my own mortality while discovering a sense of contentment in life I had not found before, even in youth. Put simply, this work is not actually about dying at all. My fascination with death is actually about living. It's about finding even the most subtle pleasures in life until the last breath. 

 

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