Articulating the assault
My work as a performance/installation had a course, a direction, an aesthetic and conceptual framework – all of which has been disrupted and ruptured because of a vulgar act of defacement on Tuesday May 11, 2010. Beyond irony is how I would describe the act of defacement. What would provoke someone to enact hate upon a work of art that addresses that very issue? I feel assaulted and violated. I feel strongly that this is not just an assault on me, but an attack on entire communities for which the work speaks. Even if the work has an emotionally charged quality, even if it’s a rant and voices accusations (in some people’s opinions), the work counters violence by addressing violence. The attack is an act of silencing. Someone doesn’t want to hear this work or see this work. Someone is bothered and angered by this work. But what bothers me more is the reaction to the defacement itself from my school, the authorities, and the public at-large. It has been alarming to hear the assumptions, the presumptions, and the lack of seriousness around the matter. I did not bring this upon myself. I do not enjoy the publicity from this. My installation has been thrown off its course and now I am forced to incorporate the mark of hate (aggressively created by someone else) into my work. The installation has been destroyed and all I can do is make the most of it. Because anyone who has experienced hate, racially-motivated acts, or any form of violence knows that when it happens, it leaves you defenseless, in shock, and renders you powerless and ,still, then you have to live with it and you are forced to move on. My work is about the refusal to end in violence and if I didn’t so strongly believe in that, then I would not be able to pick up the pieces and make this into something more empowering. For me, art is a transformative agent. This is the theory that propels my work.