Salt in the Mississippi – 2022

Salt in the Mississippi is a video performance project that was shown at the Erie Art Museum in Erie, PA in December 2022. It was shown with the work of several other artists at a screening I organized in collaboration with the museum staff. I wrote a grant to the Foundation for Contemporary Art for the production of my piece.

Video Titles

Water is interconnected across regions and around the world. Snowfall each year melts and runs into the Mississippi, affects ecosystems beyond.

Water is something that we all share, and it can’t just be addressed locally. We need to reinvent how we think about water as a global issue and internalize how precious it is as a society.

Louisiana is feeling the drought like so many other places in the country.

Low water in Mississippi is actually allowing salt water from the Gulf to flow upriver, contaminating the drinking water of already under-resourced populations and killing precious forests.

Entire populations now have an additional reason not to drink their tap water, which was already so contaminated in many places that it was brown and made people sick to drink.

Those most negatively impacted are almost always those with the least political power to determine how the land is managed and how the water is used.

The rapid destruction of forests and wetlands in Louisiana is an untold story, especially in the north.

This tragedy is a mirror for all of us to consider how we are stewarding the land and water in our region, how that will impact all the people living there – their health, livelihoods and quality of life.

I summon and call on energies in the land, both past and present, to focus on cultural and environmental justice. I am the snow, the rain and river.

I define the boundaries of my body – where I begin and end – in a natural environment. I am touching the borders of where humans have interacted with an environment. How have humans changed this environment, and how does that affect humans now and in the future?

Once the snow is in the river, the water sifts and the water and mud are drawn down the river. But the water only gets so far when there’s not much snow, and before we know it the salt water from the Gulf of Mexico is traveling up the Mississippi river further and further.

Foundation for Contemporary Art Grant

I currently have two pieces in a group show at the Erie Art Museum. I have been in conversation with the curators, and they invited me to create and present a performance by way of a new video work at their upcoming Gallery Night event on December 16, 2022. At this event, they open their galleries to the public for free and the video will have a wide audience. I have photographic pieces on display in a group show at the museum at this time, so it’s a special opportunity to show two aspects of my work together to a new audience in a prestigious venue.

I make wearable sculptures that I transform with dance and movement, and for this screening, I will create a video work of movement performance with fabric sculptures shot on location in Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge in southern Louisiana.

I’m based in Pittsburgh, PA, and New Orleans, LA, and I’m interested in the interconnectedness of water across regions and around the world. For instance, the amount of snowfall each year that melts and runs into the Mississippi affects so many ecosystems beyond where the original snow fell. I want to use this work to explore how I can help an audience learn about pressing with climate.

This silent film with captions will focus on how water is something that we all share, and how it can’t just be addressed locally. We need to reinvent how we think about water as a global issue and internalize how precious it is as a society. This is an important issue to bring to larger audiences, especially in museums that are likely to be visited by people who are in positions of power. 

I want to bring a message from Louisiana, which is feeling the drought like so many other places in the country. Currently, low water in Mississippi is actually causing salt water from the Gulf to flow upriver, contaminating the drinking water of already under-resourced populations and killing precious forests. The rapid destruction of forests and wetlands in Louisiana is an untold story in many ways, especially in the north, and as well as exploring this tragedy for its own sake, I seek to use it also as mirror for all of us to consider how we are stewarding the land and water in our region, and how that will impact all the people living there – their health, livelihoods, and quality of life.

As an interdisciplinary artist who works with sculpture, movement, and performance, I am constantly exploring new ways to use and present performance to create immersive experiences for audiences that explore themes connecting the body and the land. I’m using my work to summon and call on energies in the land, both past, and present, with a focus on cultural and environmental justice. In the performance, I’m using wearable fabric sculptures that are performed and unfolded like a large abstract puppet show. Using symbolic shapes and colors, I will perform the snow, the rain, and river. In my recent work, I have been using fabric sculptures to define the boundaries of my body – where I begin and end – in a natural environment. I am touching the borders of where humans have interacted with an environment, how the changing of that environment has been brought on by humans and the effects of climate change, and how it affects humans in that place now.