Q: The outfits you wear in Perpetual Flowering are so unique and feel significant to the piece as a whole. What is the meaning behind these outfits, that look almost like robes in an array of colors, and what is the significance in adorning yourself in these hues?
A: I was channeling different beings for Perpetual Flowering. You could say that I'm playing different characters throughout the video. In the beginning video I'm playing Takutsinakawe, a goddess of water and the ocean- a bringer of life, death, and transformation. I wore a turquoise gown that reminded me of the water and paired it with a turquoise and pink wig as a way to embody that being and channel her energy. Later, I take on the role of a Marakame, a medicine person of the Wixárika, so I also wished to embody this role of a link, a person who can traverse the sacred, and I wished to represent myself both as a member of the sacred and one who communicates with the sacred.
I'm very playful when it comes to my outfits and very simple because I'm learning how to make clothing, it's not something I'm trained in. I allow myself to move into mediums I don't feel comfortable in.
Q: Perpetual Flowering also plays with this relationship between activism and healing. Could you elaborate on the significance of these two points and why they're a central focus of Perpetual Flowering?
A: I see them as interdependent. It's a hard thing to navigate because we need spaces for respite where we can experience self-care and process. And many of us need healing from the systems that we're a part of, and I feel that art is a medium that allows a person to work on things simultaneously. I'm someone who has worked in all mediums, including community organizing and social practice. I'm also a therapist, so I've worked on healing individuals and groups, too. I see my art as a space where I can do all of this at once and still can envision another life for myself. That's the power I find in art. It can be a vehicle for reorganizing and re-envisioning what is possible in your life. The Wixárika don't separate art and activism or healing and activism, it's all interwoven together. A lot of protests have these beautiful rituals, art, and prayers connected to them. And many of us find deep meaning and value in the activism that we do because it keeps us going and keeps us feeling like we have a purpose. And that's so deeply connected to our health, too, that I see them as interconnected.
Q: Ultimately, what do you hope viewers take away from Perpetual Flowering?
A: I don't want to dictate what people experience. I want the work to do its work on people. I understand that people will be coming into the space with many different things that they're holding within themselves, so I do hope that it can offer a space where they can put those things aside for a second. I'm open to what that moment does for them, what impact that has. I hope that it will offer a moment of reflection, but also spark a sense of newness and curiosity. The chance to offer that is exciting for me. And, to see a person that traditionally wasn't elevated, or hasn't been elevated in these spaces become uplifted is so important and new. This is the first video piece where I show my body without clothing on, and that vulnerability felt very important because I'm sharing something new. And it's important to see people that look like you or see people you're confused by or don't understand. That's an important thing to encounter in representation in artistic spaces.
I'm grateful for this time and opportunity to explain my process. I hope that this iteration, especially in connection to all the other incredible artworks in Techno-Intimacy, helps people see the possibility in technology and expand how they feel they can show up in this space. I want people to feel invited to redefine what intimacy looks like for them, and how they interact and connect with technology. I hope people reconsider what technology is because “technology” really is such an expansive word.