How blind one could become while striving to find an inspiration. It becomes a struggle when one becomes desperate to find a source of a new ingenuity. How does that feel? Perhaps it is truly being blind in the middle of a bustling street.

"Looking For Inspiration", performance for video,10 minute 16 seconds, 2019, Groningen, The Netherlands
"Perception: LOVER", performance for video, triptych, 1 minute 27 seconds, 2018, Groningen, The Netherlands

The video triptych Perception presents the seeming futility of bringing human language-based concepts of interaction and communication to the non-human natural world.

It is inspired in part by the theoretical work of French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan, whose triptych of “elementary registers” were “the symbolic, the imaginary, and the real.” The piece starkly brings the conceptual power of words into direct contact with a living thing — a tree — that cannot perceive what is so elementarily powerful to the human experience.

The three distinct videos, all framed with the same perspective and lighting, center on the words “Lover,” “Enemy,” and “Artist.” Emotions and physical acts associated with these powerful human concepts are expressed towards a single tree, a stand-in for the vast reality of the majority of existence that is separate and immune from human language — while expressing the power language holds over us.

Text written by Peter Letzelter-Smith 

"Perception: ENEMY", performance for video, triptych, 1minute 21 seconds, 2018, Groningen, The Netherlands
"Perception: ARTIST", performance for video, triptych, 1 minute 19 seconds, 2018, Groningen, The Netherlands

"Onion Studies subject no.1", documentation of a public experiment, 2019

"Onion Studies subject no.2", documentation of a public experiment, 2019

"Onion Studies subject no.3", documentation of a public experiment, 2019

"Onion Studies subject no.4", documentation of a public experiment, 2019

"Onion Studies subject no.5", documentation of a public experiment, 2019

"Onion Studies subject no.6", documentation of a public experiment, 2019

"To Make", book triptych, 107 pages, 2018, Groningen, The Netherlands
"A", book triptych, 61 pages, 2018, Groningen, The Netherlands
"Sound", book triptych, 107 pages, 2018, Groningen, The Netherlands
"To Make A Sound", performance for event Does It Have A Name: Translation, ArtisBookShop, Groningen, The Netherlands, 2019

The act of gratitude is fully opened up to the entirety of human experience — both positive and negative. It is a repetitive meditation on balance, on complexity, on the Yin and Yang on living a life.

Embracing — but also concentrating — the traditional “thank you” note with a crowded hand-written phrases on manuscript, the piece thanks dozens and dozens of things both concrete and abstract. “Language,” “feminism,” “oligarchy,” “haters,” “neighbours,” “coffee”— and a multitude of other things —are listed in a paean to the myriad experiences of everyday reality.

The philosophy of Appreciation Post is the expression of gratitude for all of life, not just the parts we think are good for us — or with which we agree. The act of understanding the negative, of recognising its role in teaching or confronting us, is fully embraced.

Text written by Peter Letzelter-Smith 

"Thank You", performance for a video, 22min 32sec, 2018, Groningen, The Netherlands

ʻProjective Testʻ, performance for video, 4minutes 50 seconds, 2018, Groningen, The Netherlands 

In Case Report, the Rorschach test process is turned on its head. Instead of images being quickly interpreted with stream-of-consciousness descriptions, words are instead introduced by the industrially protected hands of the protagonist, who lays down a word. Immediately thereafter a larger piece of paper is offered.

Then the artist’s hands immediately begins to interpret the word, slashing bold strokes of primal ink with her fingers onto the white paper.

By flipping the familiar order of things, artist questions the assumed authority of the individual who is expected to be in control of this common psychological test: the state-sanctioned arbiter of sanity, the possessor of a higher degree in psychology. In opposition, the individual who must “pass” or “fail” such a test is expected to perform within acceptable societal parameters — while perhaps suppressing the imagination inherent in both mental disturbance and the creative act. The playful exchange taps into the commonality of the imaginative impulse in the face of questions.

The brushstrokes of Case Report are reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy — confident and powerful. But there is also a modernist whimsy to the minimalist response when a word like “pig” inspires only a concise, red (bloody?) dot naked on the page.

Text written by Peter Letzelter-Smith 

"Befriending", performance for video, 5minutes 50 seconds, 2018, Groningen, The Netherlands

The video collage Befriending focuses on an unremarkable aspect of life in the developed world — the ritual of showering. But a few things are amiss.

The artist is clothed. The water is obviously cold. Artist drinks from the showerhead. No curtain shields her from being viewed. The effect is one of discomfort, disorientation.

Each image is a combination and juxtaposition of two images. The first is smaller, on the left, and from the “first take” of the video shoot; the larger image on the right that is superimposed upon it is the “second take” made by the artist. This creates an additional layer of tension between the different performances — one added to the primary tension of an audience seeing an intimate act that’s not following “normal” parameters.

In the “second takes” the physical and psychological effects of being engulfed in cold water are even more pronounced — now that the artist is aware what a shock the cold water will be. Her expanding awareness becomes part of the underlying tension of Befriending as well. How much is the expectation of pain and shock part of experiencing another moment?

Text written by Peter Letzelter-Smith