little things like

Katrina Boemig's practice places the importance of the everyday back into the lives of people confronted by their own mortality, isolation and insular modern lifestyle. She works in social engagement and reflection; she exhibits various media, performance, installation and memory mapping.
Some of her projects follow...

Apr 26
Survey Says is a project in progress about ownership and authority in spaces that seem wild.  I grew up around survey flagging “tape” and always assumed there was a universal meaning.  There is not. Each Surveyor is free to create their own significance and therefore their own spatial language.   Yet when we walk through woods and see the tape it is telling us something, if nothing else that someone has been where you are standing and that the land is claimed.This series uses survey flagging to create passages into the space for the viewer and highlights the facsimile of caring that ownership of land creates. 

Survey Says is a project in progress about ownership and authority in spaces that seem wild.  

I grew up around survey flagging “tape” and always assumed there was a universal meaning.  There is not. Each Surveyor is free to create their own significance and therefore their own spatial language.   Yet when we walk through woods and see the tape it is telling us something, if nothing else that someone has been where you are standing and that the land is claimed.

This series uses survey flagging to create passages into the space for the viewer and highlights the facsimile of caring that ownership of land creates. 


Back from the desert…

image

There are more than two ends of the American aesthetic spectrum: The South West desert and the New England Fishing Village are definitely two opposite points on the star.  As you head from Arizona to New Hampshire ochre turns blue, and Red turn green. Clear bronze air turns silver, and cotton gives way to polar fleece, while the cactus blossoms turn into shellfish.

The day before yesterday I landed in Boston after a week in the Arizona desert with a group called Signal Fire.  The clapboards and clean white trim were a shock to my system, as was the volume of the inhabitants, and the act of sleeping indoors.  The first thing I wanted to do before diner was return outside onto the deck to sit, to just be with the air.  My cousin and her friends thought it was too cold to stay out there long, but they sat with me for a moment after they saw the panic of white walls crossing my expression. 

…And Today I cannot write unless I sit on this porch, wrapped in blankets. Indoors just feels wrong. (There are wind chimes near me emphasizing nature with their man made charms and I realize they are meant to bring-to-light what we can not constantly have.  It makes me wonder at the popularity of wind chimes and office jobs.)

Thinking back to the desert I am not sure how to process what we just did.   

Twelve very different socially, emotionally and physically -abled humans met in Tucson to spend seven days in the Apache National Forrest and its Blue Range Primitive area.  We hoped to see wolves, or hear wolves.  Instead we saw tracks and picked up bones.

The bear tracks made some people nervous. And they made all of us hum a little.   (I was involved in a rendition of Islands in the Stream and a few Neil Young variations.) The comforting tracks included Snowshoe Hare, these I misinterpreted as several gigantic hopping one-footed birds.  The Enormous elk tracks had prints the size of science fiction and they often stood cuddled strangely close to the movements of tiny deer. We also saw a snake swim towards us at a river crossing, a pink Horny toad startled by the twenty four eyes staring down him, two wasps named after two terrorizing animals, and a million wee lizards that seemed to always be waving hello. 

It was magic, Yes, utter clichéd magic.  But it was also very real and hard and there were moments in which I remembered pure terror… not because of nature, or the humans I was traveling with, but because of outside people, in fighter jets swooping in on us, happy to have citizens to strike fear in.   (How odd it was that our first contact with other humans was a reminder of violence. )

There was also a giant wound in the earth that took us over half and hour to drive through, on our way from Tucson into the wilderness.  An open pit hungry for human workers.  Workers in need of a living digging up copper for our cameras, computers, jewelry and commodity fetishism.  Seeing this pit was a direct confrontation with the ways we make our planet sick.  As I looked out on to the emptiness I touched my copper hoop earrings with shame, not able to take them off and not able to pretend they did not exist.

Before I went on this trip people kept confusingly asking me what it was.  My answers bounced around the word artist residency… a term that often takes additional explaining.  And a thing that even after explained seems pretty absurd to any non-art-related types. But I will say, this residency was different: It was not safety, and pockets of verbiage, instead it was a pure experience, which is in itself the best sort of education.   

Because of the people on the trip I can point out a plant that will relax you, I can show you the edible part of a cactus, and perhaps, for the first time in my life I can actually see the difference between a raccoon track and that of a baby bear.  (Something many of you know I will not admit was ever a problem.)  I also learned how to appropriately pack for the wilderness, filter sketchy water and to keep an eye open for sand building itself a protective roof, among many other things.

Most unexpected was how much time I would spend in my head on our journey.  I am used to days of walking and talking with social and artistic collaborators, but in this case I had to pay such specific attention to my body, health and person that I did not get out much… and even surrounded by amazing new friends I was kept in a state of constant process, focus and concern for survival. 

I did not expect to be so focused on my body during our journey but I was constantly reminded of my feebleness as a weakened animal. My period arrived two weeks late causing a surprising anemia, my stinging insect allergy tickled my ears, and my knees shyly ached reminding me of their dysfunction while my nose sore from the dry air filled with clouted blood.  So, I could not help but focus on my person. I had headed on this journey looking for collaborators but I left Arizona ready to collaborate with myself….wondering if all the collaborating in years past was my way of avoiding the mirror.  And what a shock the mirror was after seven days sans showers and mirrors and soap and hair brushes….

I remembered how little a person needs only after looking into the mirror. We need people, and guidance, nurturing and empathy but we most of all need ourselves.  We do not need the extras, the padding, the devices and the constant linear decisions.  I think I needed this trip more than I knew, and I definitely needed it more than my compatriots understood. Now that I have done it I can finally move forward again, instead of just attempting to change, I can finally be change.

I am super thankful to Signal Fire for inviting me on this trip and I am hugely thankful to Amy for all the extra effort she had to put into the trip to make it work for all of us.  She is truly an inspiration, an amazing and seemingly fearless woman who went back into the wilderness by herself just to pull us all back out on the other side.  Also, to the people on the trip you are all dreams and thank you for your support even when you might not have wanted to give it.   It was such a beautiful week experienced through twelve very different sets of eyes and ears.


Sep 13
I have been trying to figure out how/if I want to involve color in my memory mappings.  

I have been trying to figure out how/if I want to involve color in my memory mappings.  


Sep 12

I have been creating a 1 hour drawing a day since June.

Yesterday September 11th, 2013 marked the eleventh week of this practice.

I plan on creating a community sharing space for people that are interested in the same or a similar practice.  


The truth drawn out of texts messages and emails
2013
An attempt to get three people to tell the same story over various technological devices.  The information was later translated in a drawing process onto vellum and hung so the story would continue to erode with time and influence as the scrolls are tugged and spun.


This piece (shot in studio) is now on view at The Flying Object in Hadley, MA.  

see:

http://flying-object.org for info


I told you this story before, one mapping, three times
2013
Three panel hand cut mapping of travels from Vermont to Western, Massachusetts, 1995-1996.  These mappings are cut without reference and completely from memory.  The variations you see in the maps are changes in my perception of space during the time in which they are performed.  
This piece (shot in studio) is now on view at The Flying Object in Hadley, MA.  
see:
http://flying-object.org for info

I told you this story before, one mapping, three times

2013
Three panel hand cut mapping of travels from Vermont to Western, Massachusetts, 1995-1996.  These mappings are cut without reference and completely from memory.  The variations you see in the maps are changes in my perception of space during the time in which they are performed.  


This piece (shot in studio) is now on view at The Flying Object in Hadley, MA.  

see:

http://flying-object.org for info


My installation at The Wassaic Project’s “Homeward Found”

For more information on the exhibition see:
http://artforum.com/index.php?pn=picks&id=42357&view=print


Nov 11
I am very happy about the results of the US election.  But I do not like maps being used as a weapon, maps are for telling stories, pie charts are for statistics.  In maps there is room for interpretation, So I made this in reaction.

I am very happy about the results of the US election.  
But I do not like maps being used as a weapon, maps are for telling stories, pie charts are for statistics.  In maps there is room for interpretation, So I made this in reaction.


Oct 29
Can Not Control the Meaning of the Life Process
A collaboration with Katrina Boemig, Yang Xin, Lou Wei, & Necole Zayatz.  2010-2011
Made in Beijing China and Buffalo, NY
Click on image to watch a raw version of the the project as presented in Buffalo.

Can Not Control the Meaning of the Life Process

A collaboration with Katrina Boemig, Yang Xin, Lou Wei, & Necole Zayatz.  2010-2011

Made in Beijing China and Buffalo, NY

Click on image to watch a raw version of the the project as presented in Buffalo.


Oct 28
'How to Walk in Crayon Shoes'
A workshop for children at Big Draw Buffalo
workshop descripiton:
Why can’t realism mean drawing the moment via action? Children will be invited to draw music while dancing, using their feet rather than their hands. Drawings will reveal their emotional reaction to the sound, fellow participants, and the dynamic structure of the workshop. 

'How to Walk in Crayon Shoes'

A workshop for children at Big Draw Buffalo

workshop descripiton:

Why can’t realism mean drawing the moment via action? Children will be invited to draw music while dancing, using their feet rather than their hands. Drawings will reveal their emotional reaction to the sound, fellow participants, and the dynamic structure of the workshop. 


Sep 16
This is the print of the copper floor from the piece Making a Memory from Scratch.  Each section of the print is 36” x 36”The original installaction happened in the fall of 2010 at ATTN:Artgoers.
The piece was printed as a dry point with Jonathan Barcan and Alicia Paolucci in the summer of 2011.
Click on the photo to see images of the installaction as it occurred.  

This is the print of the copper floor from the piece Making a Memory from Scratch.  Each section of the print is 36” x 36”
The original installaction happened in the fall of 2010 at ATTN:Artgoers.

The piece was printed as a dry point with Jonathan Barcan and Alicia Paolucci in the summer of 2011.

Click on the photo to see images of the installaction as it occurred.  


Sep 15
I have walked to Canada three weekends in a row.  It has begun to remind me a bit of the BIG walks I organized with Jill Hannon from 2004-2006.  (There have been some straggler walks since then.)
The major difference between those walks and these walks, other than the purposefulness of crossing a border, is the people.  In New York there was a core group of people I would call the BIG walkers.  They did not go on every walk but they went on almost every walk.  Those walks became rambles and the rambles became an excuse to both see and learn and socialize and move.  They became a way to become part of the giant city in which we lived.
I have often thought about the choice we made when we decided not to bring cameras on those walks.  The conversations about a lens making something less real.  We wanted to have an authentic experience, the walks were not about pointing to them after and saying ‘Look what I did’  But rather they were a memory to hold inside our heads where we could whisper ‘we were there.’
I have been taking pictures on these walks to Canada, though not many.  And every walk has had different people on it.  I am happy to have walked with all of them but, I started these walks knowing I eventually planned on doing them alone. Today when my fellow walkers wanted to get chinese food, I knew I could not afford, I decided to head back alone.  
The clouds were trying to be epic, and the light was that winking yellow you find in the evenings of early autumn.  I walked alone and I was happy.  I arrived back on my street and saw the houses differently I walked back to Buffalo and saw it differently.  And I found myself for the first time, in a long time, not knowing the answer and not caring that I did not even know what the question was to begin with.

I have walked to Canada three weekends in a row.  It has begun to remind me a bit of the BIG walks I organized with Jill Hannon from 2004-2006.  (There have been some straggler walks since then.)

The major difference between those walks and these walks, other than the purposefulness of crossing a border, is the people.  In New York there was a core group of people I would call the BIG walkers.  They did not go on every walk but they went on almost every walk.  Those walks became rambles and the rambles became an excuse to both see and learn and socialize and move.  They became a way to become part of the giant city in which we lived.

I have often thought about the choice we made when we decided not to bring cameras on those walks.  The conversations about a lens making something less real.  We wanted to have an authentic experience, the walks were not about pointing to them after and saying ‘Look what I did’  But rather they were a memory to hold inside our heads where we could whisper ‘we were there.’

I have been taking pictures on these walks to Canada, though not many.  And every walk has had different people on it.  I am happy to have walked with all of them but, I started these walks knowing I eventually planned on doing them alone. Today when my fellow walkers wanted to get chinese food, I knew I could not afford, I decided to head back alone.  

The clouds were trying to be epic, and the light was that winking yellow you find in the evenings of early autumn.  I walked alone and I was happy.  I arrived back on my street and saw the houses differently I walked back to Buffalo and saw it differently.  And I found myself for the first time, in a long time, not knowing the answer and not caring that I did not even know what the question was to begin with.


Sep 10
Started on the last weekend of summer 2012.  
Walk the bridge to another world is a public occasion for acceptable border crossing.
I invite fellow Buffalonians to cross the Peace Bridge together- arriving on foot in a foreign country.  
In Buffalo seeing Fort Erie, Canada is more common than eating one of our famed Buffalo wings- Yet I found when talking to friends that most of us had never made land fall in Fort Erie.  
Initially I wanted to walk to Canada out of curiosity but eventually I began to think about the absurdity of borders and the ease in which the U.S. northern border can be crossed vs. the U.S. southern border.
Walk the bridge to another world  began as research for a project in which I plan to walk to Canada everyday until I fill a completely blank passport with stamps* but it has developed a life of it’s own.
So far we have found fossil beds, an abandoned amusement park and the best chinese food I have had outside of China and the City of New York.  It’s worth walking with us.
* This project has been postponed but not abandoned.

Started on the last weekend of summer 2012.  

Walk the bridge to another world is a public occasion for acceptable border crossing.

I invite fellow Buffalonians to cross the Peace Bridge together- arriving on foot in a foreign country.  

In Buffalo seeing Fort Erie, Canada is more common than eating one of our famed Buffalo wings- Yet I found when talking to friends that most of us had never made land fall in Fort Erie.  

Initially I wanted to walk to Canada out of curiosity but eventually I began to think about the absurdity of borders and the ease in which the U.S. northern border can be crossed vs. the U.S. southern border.

Walk the bridge to another world  began as research for a project in which I plan to walk to Canada everyday until I fill a completely blank passport with stamps* but it has developed a life of it’s own.

So far we have found fossil beds, an abandoned amusement park and the best chinese food I have had outside of China and the City of New York.  It’s worth walking with us.

* This project has been postponed but not abandoned.


Circle the Lake was a project I did while at The University at Buffalo.

I sent formal invitations to my classmates asking them to circle the lake with me.  Once we had scheduled a time we walked around the man-made Lake LaSalle, part of UB campus.  I let the invitee control the way in which we circled the lake and the topics of our conversations.  These maps made after returning from our walks are the documentation of a tiny social event, the moment of really beginning to know someone and possibly also, getting to know some place.  There are locative hot topics and natural distractions.  The maps are anonymous.

selection of 9 of the maps.


In the summer of 2012 I made two pieces based on the idea of journaling and calendars.  One piece involved me collecting a rock at every moment that seemed truly important.  The other piece was calledThe Only Days of Summer.  These drawings are from the second piece in which I drew maps from memory of the days I knew I would remember beyond the summer of 2012.


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