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I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m as serious as a heart attack — a $1,998,771.69 heart attack, which my dad, through his health insurance, paid for last year. My dad, obedient to exhaustive blue-collar labor with “good benefits,” traded in his health and body early, for health insurance in his fatigue.

The 1954 monster Godzilla is an apt mascot for describing my work: how culture represents itself through the manifestation of internalized violence, taking in its fantastic, virtual forms, including exuberant defiance, such as Godzilla.

My mom, a descendant of slaves in the U.S., reflected to my eight-year-old self, her profound pop culture Godzilla monster contemplation, which haunts me now. It makes me wonder what she’d think and who’d she be had she been born on the other side, judging by our family slave names:
        Pierce
        Collins
        Stokes

She survives, escaping her suffering virtually, through her “righteous anger” in “spiritual warfare,” in her 60+ years, while she’s waiting at the bus stop, with uninvited solicitations for sex or being beaten in the face and robbed of her purse on the streets of Oakland.

What would hers — or anyone’s — behavior and lifestyle be if they weren’t choked by violence and exploitation, their bodies deformed and souls tortured 

What is the difference between living and surviving?

The larger the fantasy, the greater the suffering, and in terms of virtuality, "isn’t the inability to escape one’s reality what true suffering really is?"1

If virtuality — art, religion, novels, et cetera — by means of consensus culture, "is something that human needs in order to survive, then it constitutes a fundamental need."2

*          *         *         *        

Godzilla, the monster:
        Latin root: monere – to instruct; a sign.

Godzilla, the teacher:
There is honor with the Japanese, and I marvel at their attitude on suffering and how they dealt with American governmental violence — seen and unseen.


Godzilla, a plastic, molded form of violence:
        As the SEEN, via charred skin, raised and scabbed over on the desecrated people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima from nuclear bombs and as the 
        UNSEEN from residual radioactive material from nuclear fallout.

Godzilla’s plastification, a form of abstraction:
        Latin root: abstrahere – to draw away.

This monster and its ghosts stand outside, a giant step removed as observers, while simultaneously dancing within popular and consensus culture.

This is what I attempt within my work. My works exist as fetish objects, encapsulating parallel worlds as the SEEN — objects as a means to observe with a surrounding dialogue — and as the UNSEEN, inhabited by the ghosts from internalized violence.

[above, courtesy Getty Images: left, Keloids cover the back of a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bomb (JP), 1946; right, the scarred back of a slave after a whipping, Baton Rouge Louisiana (US), 1863]

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1. Weinstein, Matthew. 8 June 2017, 8:25 a.m. Facebook post.
2. Ibid.





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