Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mockingbird Movie, Bird on the front porch, Mockingbird Suite album

When I began this residency I wanted to find an overarching theme that would connect my sound, visual, and performance practices in a way that took into account the community-based nature of the project. My initial proposal was to collect and respond to the sights and sounds of York, Alabama and the surrounding area. As the project took shape I realized I wanted to use many different methods of responding to, and working with, the community. During research I happened upon some information about the North American Mockingbird. I saw parallels in the way it collects and revises its pallet of songs with the way I wanted to collect and respond to York. Thus, Mockingbird: Mapping Sights and Sounds is the culmination of this process.

I came up with the personae of a mockingbird. My costume consists of a second-hand gray suit and my grandfather’s hat. I move my arms periodically to mimic the mockingbird’s territorial wing movements. I strut around and survey my surroundings.

Mockingbird Suite:

This is a series of twenty sound pieces that combine field recordings and extended vocal techniques. Each one is a meditation on a particular sound, or a group of sounds that I have encountered during my residency. The sound pieces are the most obvious link to the mockingbird. However, they are not patterned on mockingbird song. If you are interested in getting a copy of the Mockingbird Suite, please contact me at the following email address: Or to download the entire album for free click here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mockingbird Bundles

Much of the identity of a community can be defined by the materials they use and the products they consume. The pieces left behind by this usage become the artifacts of that community. I like to think that each remnant that has been discarded still holds some trace of each person who held it. In this way, these bundles are collected memories of a community. The act of binding these pieces together creates a kind of narrative whereby all the memories held in the pieces of debris are intermingled. Each bundle is a story consisting of memories from people in the community. For this project, the bundles are a metaphorical extension of the collage technique of the song repertoire of the mockingbird.

Bundle 1

Bundle 2

Bundle 3

Bundle 4

Bundle 5

Bundle 6

Bundle 7

Bundle 8

Bundle 9

Bundle 10

Bundle 11

Bundle 15

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nests, Compost Paintings, 24 Hour Draw-athon


Many years ago I began the practice of reconfiguring the garbage I found in vacant lots and alleys. I would construct sculptural collages out of the materials I gathered on-site. Then, I would take a picture of the construction, and leave it for someone else to find. When I began working with the metaphor of the mockingbird I found this practice easily transitioned into constructing nests out of the found materials. Like the bundles, which were made from materials collected and taken into my studio, I used what I found around me. The difference is that I wanted to construct nests, or dwellings, that referenced my presence in the places I had been. Most of the nests were dismantled, destroyed, or fell apart within a couple of days after I made them. I enjoyed this organic sense of temporality with the nests.

nest #1 (scraps)

nest #2 (junk food)

nest #3 (shoes)

nest #4 (auto parts)

nest #5 (grass skirt)

nest #6 (tile floor)

nest #7 (placement)

nest #7 (glass house)

nest #8 (tail pipes)

nest #9 (circles)

nest #10 (bird bath)

nest #11 (reflectors)

nest #12 (toys)

nest #13 (chair)

nest #14 (gas)

nest #15 (phoenix)

nest #16 (shavings)

nest #17 (basket)

nest #18 (creature comforts)


This series of collage/paintings were made from materials I buried for six month, then dug back up and collected. I brought the materials to York to assemble the pieces during my residency. I felt a definite connection between the material I collaged into these paintings and the objects I created from the found remnants. The paintings extend the mockingbird metaphor through the use of materials that have been shaped and altered by natural processes.

compost painting 1, version 2

compost painting 2

compost painting 3

compost painting 4

compost painting 5

compost painting 6

compost triptych


Fellow resident artist, Garland Farwell, and I drew for 24 hours. We allowed ourselves a fifteen-minute break every two hours. We took on the personas of “super heroes” who alternately united and battled with each other. Sometimes we tag-teamed a challenge, such as ‘still life’. Other times we fenced with markers attached to the ends of sticks (a sheet of cardboard acted as torso armor/blank canvas). We also constructed a giant chess set out of paper and marked our moves with pastels. Before the marathon began we brainstormed different activities to break up the time and challenge us with different problems. As we went, we taped each finished piece to the wall. All manner of styles and approaches were used. Still lifes, Non-representational sound-response drawings, and cartoons, are examples of activities we used throughout the time. We also set up directives such as, “When you hear a train coming you have to turn the drawing you are working on upside down.” It was at once exhausting and incredibly exciting. The event was documented by Alice Tuan (photos and writings) and Lori Curtis (through photos and short video clips).

warming up

oversized food

hand finished

foot drawing

light and shadow

remnant collage



Hourly Log of Events

10am warm up
11am still life
12noon 1000 lines
1pm free style
2pm marker fencing
3pm copy a master
4pm x's and o's
5pm draw-by (like drive-by)
6pm construct chess set
7pm free style
8pm rubbings
9pm portrait (of Alice Tuan)
10pm draw with kids
11pm draw with kids

12mid chess
1am free style
2am continue chess
3am drawing w/ contraptions
4am invent a superhero
5am oversized food
6am free style
7am collage
8am manifesto
9am sidewalk chalk
10am fin/the end