My artistic research looks at air as a vital pre-condition for political imagination and democracy. Unlike other mediums, air is a vehicle for forces operating on nano and global scales simultaneously. I think there has to be a paradigm shift in how we are thinking about air. With advances in air quality sensors coupled with changing climate conditions, a new vision of air as a territory is emerging. But how is our relationship to air changing? Air is a space that is inhabited by a variety of energy waves and substances: RF, WiFi, radiation, non-organic particles, and even microorganisms like fungal spores and bacteria. I am critical of how this unique space is occupied and financialized by private interests.
My work is directly influenced by my mixed cultural and geographic background. I am African American and Filipino. However, I spent 10 years living in Mexico City as a child completing public elementary school and middle school. In the 1990s, when I lived in Mexico City, pollution levels were at their highest, causing schools to shut down some days and birds to fall dead from the sky other days. As an artist today, the early experience I had with smog is evident in my research on air as a political site. Learning from the trajectory of the critical praxis of artists like Hans Haacke, Ultra-Red, and Amy Balkin, my work tries to push and question the configurations of power that political regimes lay out in the public domain. Such regimes, for me, operate on constantly shifting terms, creating new areas to contest the cooptation of our public spaces.
I have worked in a variety of mediums and forms, and often times my artworks include collaborations with specific communities. My project This is the Breath of Someone that Used to Be Here, for instance, is a project about workers trying to organize at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The president and administration of that museum was retaliating against any staff that openly protested their working conditions by firing them. My artwork gave these staff members the ability to speak live to an audience about the terrible way they were treated, but at the same time their identity was protected.