This statement is a work in progress. Thank you in advance for your patience.

I invent social and physical systems that produce art about things that are not immediately apparent or visible. I usually start by looking at what makes sense and play around with it until it does not. Inverting conventions is often my go-to starting point. If I laugh or smile and can't immediately figure out what's so funny, I keep going — making this text white on a white background is a good example of this process.

Usually, at the beginning of the process, I have no idea why something like an invisible artist statement would be compelling. Well, that's not true, there are some obvious metaphorical meanings to be found, but any that you or I could think of are what I would call an apparent meaning. I'm not so interested in rehashing what I already know or can easily figure out through language, which is to say what has already been spoken. Therefore, I try to think through other modes. Have you ever tried to think without words? Try it now; I'll wait.

It's hard, 'eh? What form did your thoughts take? Could you express it without words? How? 

For me, when I'm thinking without words, it's usually with my body, with other people, or by manipulating material with my hands. I guess this is why I say I invent social and physical systems rather than work conceptually. Concepts are primarily expressed with words, and while I do use words, I don't think my work starts with them, and I hope it doesn't end with them either. Needless to say, words are not my primary medium. The evidence of my thoughts primarily exists through physical and social means: drawing, sculpting, photography, and video. All of this evidence is produced by performing roles, providing services, and doing favors. All of these roles, services, and favors start off making sense and by design, verge towards the non-verbal, phenomenological, and impractical. Often things become ridiculous, and (some would say) needlessly complicated. But I wouldn't say that. The ridiculously complicated IS needed. While things might get convoluted and absurdly illogical, looking deeply or aesthetically at the nonsensical with patience and wordless thought (some would call this spacing out) is how I often gain invaluable insights; into myself and the world around me.  

In the real world, when things get unwieldy and chaotic: confusion, accidents, and misunderstandings can happen. Lately, those with power have been intentionally using the illogical to disorientate, but in the world that I make there is no need to worry; no one is going to be taken advantage of or hurt. Unlike some leaders in politics and culture who employ similar tactics of confusion: I don't wield much power, and by design, neither does my art. As far as I know, no one has been or could be harmed by thinking about, or participating in my art. I wish I could say the same for the leaders mentioned above inside and outside of the arts, but that's another story; one of power, privilege, propaganda, and the real world misfortunes, injustices, and inequalities of a world that we are told: "makes sense." 

I hope it's not difficult to see through the illogical ridiculousness of my folly. If it is, one highlight of it all is: you're not alone. Take comfort in the fact that you can recognize (and hopefully laugh at) my nonsense. Making nonsense has helped me realize is the only thing that prevents anything from being considered nonsense is that it serves someone, some group, or some system where power is at stake. Becoming slightly more aware of how this invisible power structure impacts my perception of the world is one of the rewards of making what I make. The other reward is figuring out constructive ways to resist these imbalances of power in pleasurable, and hopefully equitable ways.

Speaking of rewards, I have a big ask: do me a favor and hold onto nonsense until a hidden intention, new meaning, or invisible connection is visible. That said, sometimes, I just let go of nonsense because my arms are tired. You should feel free to do that too. In my case, when I retire my arms, I usually have a good laugh and occasionally, albeit less regularly: get a good laugh. 

Right now, as I write this, I'm having a hard time getting a handle on precisely what the significance of this particular letting go and taking is, but when I grasp it, I'll be sure to throw it your way, and if you catch on before me, I trust you will do the same. I have a feeling that the answer will come to us when we have stopped holding onto an expectation and are just spacing out. I'd like to imagine we'll share it with something other than words that take the shape of tactile and spatial metaphors. Hopefully by making or experiencing something actually tactile in the three-dimensional space between us.

To wrap this statement up into a concise package: the aim of my work is to playfully highlight the intersecting social and physical structure of our world that is invisible at first glance but slowly reveals itself as we investigate the absurd qrks inherent in the weird way it all wrks.

 What you do with that knowledge is none of my business. Hopefully, it's not a business at all, but the beginning of a paradigm shift towards true equity and equality for all

If you have any ideas of how I can wip this stmnt into shape, please don't hesitate to contact me at berensmichael at gmail.com

Like everyone else: I want to C Victory. I just want to walk this path in a way where no one feels the agony of da feet. Because, after all, they are not my feets alone. :)