I invent social and physical systems that produce art. At least that's what I've been telling myself lately. It's not set in stone, but for now, I'm glad we're on the same scroll/page/screen.

In the case of my systems, individuals are directly engaged in making the artwork. You might expect I would have to make a big case so all participants can fit inside. To the contrary, it's a small case, but more people can fit in than you might expect: like a clown car. But, instead of steel, big shoes, and clowns, my case consists of contemporary art theory, my audience and humor. Funny, right? I know! Art theory is hysterical. 

So how do I fit so much and so many into such a small case? And why would a participant choose to have such a seemingly dense and cramped experience?! Is there a trap door beneath this case? Is there a trick? Why does it take so many words to explain this case?  The short answers are: Work. Easy. Fun. Metaphorically. Yes. You'll see.

The trick is: only a fraction of the participants involved in my work have a hands on art making experience. I primarily employ hands off participation. Hands off participants do not take up room inside my case, but like the hands on participants: both help me state my case. Admittedly, right now it's less a state, and certainly not a federal, but more of a small blue collar village case. How does this hands off participation help state my case? Hands off participants help by reading these words. Right now dear reader you are participating. You are bringing my case beyond my small manual labor village by letting me hitch a ride to the big city on your personal interpretation. Your interpretation, or as we say in the information age, your data (in the form of clicks and scrolls), is driving my case. These clicks need not be driven by the same interpretation or data that made my hands move in my small town. Actually, I prefer you create your own meaning. It makes me feel more cosmopolitan. Even if you consider this writing nonsense, this interpretation still increases my cases value (more on that below). Thanks for giving me a hands off hand! I hope someday I can return the favor.

In addition to reading and writing favors, my artwork consists of drawings, sculptures, photos and videos. These modes could be considered favors too, but I've found that few are willing to except favors when there is a physical presence reminding them day in and day out that you owe someone a favor. These objects do make excellent gifts though. If you would like to have one, and not do me a favor in the future, we can exchange pieces of paper with numbers on it. No strings attached. We can also do this paper/number exchange electronically: I have Paypal and Venmo. Although this method does have strings, but you already knew that as you have undoubtedly read the user agreements. 

Speaking of reading, clicking and scrolling. If this statement strikes you as a strange theatrical user agreement, like some sort of act in a language that goes on and on, and is difficult to decipher: you are onto something, and I encourage you to read on before checking the "yes, I agree box" at the bottom of this page. Full disclosure: I have been known to occasionally perform outside of the screen and stage. Actually, that's not true: it's not occasional, it's always. I'm always performing. Every waking moment. Performing a role. Performing a service. Performing favors. I also perform in my non-waking moments, but those are just roles. Too many for me to keep track of. What I do keep track of in my dream life is how many services, and favors I've performed thus far. Zero and Zero. Anymore would be bad for business. 

As you can see, I favor the impractical and, some would say, the ridiculous and needlessly complex. But I wouldn't say that, oh no, haha, oh no no no. The ridiculously complex is needed. While things might get convoluted, often absurdly so, the nonsensical is by design. This is for humor and discoveries sake, for both me and mine and you and yours. Fortunately, when things get unwieldy and chaotic: confusion, accidents, and misunderstandings tend to happen. Don't worry no one is going to get hurt. I don't wield that much power in my small village, and neither does my art. How unfortunate, because even if I was "killing it" no one has, or hopefully ever will be harmed in the making, displaying, or purchasing of my art. I wish I could say the same for all art, but that's another story, one that is affectionately called art history. With my art - unlike the aforementioned art and the real world misfortunes that are linked to it - there is not much at stake. No harm, no foul, just a lot of folly...and I say folly affectionately (like an art historical affection, but with less myopic elitism... err, I mean snobbery) .

 So what's the point of this folly?  The point, and I'm hesitant to explain it, as we all know what happens when we try to explain a joke: you kill it (sans quotes). Side note: I once thought the same for artist statements, and if you are still in the same written statement boat, I would stop reading right now. Spoiler alert: That ship has sailed, rudderless and is about to be scuttled. Abandon ship.

 Why I do all of this is because the illogical, the ridiculous, the absurd, when it is funny, only flows in one direction: towards the logical. Yes, finding the hidden logic can take a lot of time, patience and a sense of humor, but it is time well spent... or is it time well earned? Well, either way I promise you it will be rewarding. So do me a favor and take my word/data because time and attention is money, and while money doesn't grow on trees it can be found everywhere else if you pay attention to nonsense long enough that it starts to make sense. That's my investment advice to you. Hold onto your nonsense stock until a hidden intention, new meaning or a once 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 to. Either way, when I retire my arms I usually have a good laugh and occasionally, albeit less regularly: get a good laugh. I hope this is the case when I retire more than my arms. Even if at the end of the line the laughs are of the "oh that joke was so bad I had to laugh" variety, I'll take that over most every other laugh-less moment. I'm having a hard time getting a grip on what specifically the significance of this particular letting go and taking is, but when I grasp it I'll be sure to let you know. If you get there before me, please do me a favor and send word back. I would be happy to compensate you and yours for your efforts.  Like I said, I have PayPal and Venmo. We can dream, can't we?  I say yes. Yes mostly because it's good for business. 

To wrap this statement up in a nutshell (an almost invisible one): the aim of my work is to playfully highlight the interconnecting social and physical structure of our world that, at first sight, is invisible.

That is, until we investigate and figure out how to enjoy the qrks inherent in the way it wrks.

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

Like everyone else: I want to CV (see 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. :)