transart | 2014

MFA candidate at Transart Institute, Plymouth University


MCP504 Proposal Year 2

• 01 Title of project


• 02 Name of student and any collaborators and their roles

Often I have collaborated with Louis Leray, photographer / cinematgraher ( and Rulan Tangen, Choreographer and company principle, Dancing Earth (an indigenous Dance Company I don’t plan to do this project as collaboration piece per se, but both of these artists I am currently working with.

Links to collaborations with Louis Leray

Links to collaborations with Rulan Tangen

• 03 Suggested advisors for studio and for research element (first, second, third choices, if any). Explain your choices. *

I have to say that it is unclear who on the website list of advisors is a studio advisor and who is a research advisor. I found selecting an advisor a daunting task and one that affects so much of the experience at TI. Perhaps this could be made more clear and provide more support to the future process of selection…


STUDIO ADVSIOR: 1. Pat Badani, 2. Jean Marie Casabarian 3. Ruth Bianco

Linda Montanø ?

I garnered a few gems my advisor Jenny Perlin over this past year. She provided a voice of support for any new exploration in the realm of making.  Her suggestions for how to connect to story and content were helpful – keeping lists as reference and a thesaurus of my thought-line is definitely helped me define my approach. I would consider continuing to work with her, but also think it’s important to get as much as I can from the TI human resources. That being said, I am open to exploring Pat Badani, as I believe themes in her work relate to politics and social thinking that I feel very motivated by. Her work with GMO and indigenous farmers interests me very much. I took Jean Marie’s workshop in Berlin, and also think she is a tremendous resource that I would be inspired to tap into.  Ruth Bianco, might be a fruitful choice for guidance – her use of video sculpture and multi-channel installations could provide insight into how I would integrate my use of media and “analog” mediums. But truly I wonder if Linda Montanø wouldn’t be my advisor? I have had two “art/encounters” with her – one day in her yellow tent as I left the San Francisco Art Institute (1988) she advised me on my course of action and then some 25 years later I met her and melded minds at Site Santa Fe Spring 2013. The question I asked her that day, delivered me to TI – so if there is even that possibility, I would be amazed that this divergent life-long art making quandary had taken me full circle.

RESEARCH ADVISOR: 1.Julian Olivier 2. Ian Clothier 3. Ofri Cnaani  4.Colin Chase  5. Caroline Koebel

I also garnered good support and critical thinking from Michael Bowdidge – his immense understanding of art history and art context for philosopical thinking  was remarkable.

Really I’m not sure whom to select here…

Julien Olivier appears to have excellent resources in terms of software design, programming/networking and technical skills I would really like to learn.

Ian is an interesting candidate for research – it seems he is already using the elements, mainly plants, literally giving them voice. Also I had my work shown in New Zealand at the museum he is curating and perhaps he is familiar with the work I’ve done with Rulan Tangen and Dancing Earth, Puki Araki Museum, 2013.

Colin Chase, I would choose because he apparently makes beautiful succinct work that integrates a spiritual and aesthtic silence.


• 04 – Description of proposed project or body of work – practical element

PRANA | ALCHEMY + NOW is a new exploration into the nuances of the alchemy of elements. At the intersection of time-based media and the present moment, elements meet in rare and unfamiliar terms providing a new, strange and modern alchemy. Elements of nature press up against the digital age, and rare earth elements are held hostage by Chinese entrepreneurs. The age of consumption has pushed culture to the edge of climate disaster, and we are witnesses, victims and perpetrators of our own collective destiny.  We have been mining this earth, stealing what resources we can to fortify an inexhaustible hunger as a species.

How do the elements speak and how can I harness them in my work?

The Prana Project began from the point of witness. In turning the camera on and capturing the lift of the wind, the spanda of water, the gesture of fire, the fruiting of earth, there was a witness to the foment of nature’s reality; the pulse of prana.   Part of this project will be to build/install the Prana Cube video installation as a space to commune as witness to this vibrant and subtle pulse and alchemy of elements. ( Prana video clips on vimeo:,,,,, all password protected work is : “trans14”)


Now, I am interested in giving a new voice to the elements, introducing them into the work. This new body of work is about the meeting point between the voice of the natural world and it’s intersection with digital age technology.  This work explores where the alchemy of modernity intersects with nature’s long sung pulsation of transformation. This meeting point can be political and it also can be seen from the point of witness.  This ‘meeting point’ is a facet of everyday modern life – the cell phone in the pocket kind of event.  We encounter this interception between nature’s rhythmic directive and modern technological propulsion more times than we know in a day. In an effort to harness the elements themselves into this new body of work, I will look at ways in which they might speak for themselves.

Integrating video, installation, sculpture, sound and digital images into a body of work that explores and contrasts points of confrontation between modernity and the elemental world. It’s a conversation that involves faith and fortune, class and location, science and truth. The oxymoron that we literally are formed of stardust and then proceed as if we are wholly rational beings is often exposed at these points of contact. When we actually have to imagine securing an element like Plutonium 239 from human exposure for hundreds of thousands of years, we have to realize that it is beyond our cognitive design capacity. Our own inventions belong to geologic dimensions that exceed our grasp.


I am influenced by my location. As an artist having lived in the South Western United States for more than twenty five years. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a healing center/art scene decoy for the heart of the Department of Energy’s (D.O.E.) core weapon’s building machine Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Just 17 miles away, LANL makes the pits for nuclear bombs amongst various advanced genetic engineering and particle testing. I am influenced by the land and sky here, as well as the fierce wind, pink earth and black volcanic rocks. There is the influence of the art community of the wild West - where cowboy artists intersect with native traditionalists and conceptual hermits. Land artists have carved into these parts for some centuries making place and culture inseparable. I am influenced by having worked with Godfrey Reggio, on his last film in his trilogy, Naqoyqatsi. I am deeply influenced for my interaction with the Hopi grandmother decades ago, who taught me to plant corn; tending the garden continues to influence me daily. And now, I am influenced by my research on James Turrell and Olafur Elìasson, and how their work weighs in on the incorporation of nature as a pranic force within the work.

This investigation into prana began as a physical practice thirty years ago. This practice of witness and union began with my engagement of yoga; watching my breath, parceling it, serving it, appreciating it as my own pranic exchange of self with other. Our breath is our most intimate relationship. This practice of physical asana transcends cognitive rationale and offers direct experience with ecstatic union – Yoga Tantra. It is also a cooking process – alchemy. The idea is that with yoga, you are tending an internal fire and this fire cooks through you, transforms you. Yoga is the practice of “now”.  ‘Practice’ here means becoming connected to - yoked to the present moment.

This project PRANA | ALCHEMY + NOW is about what’s “cooking” now - investigating the fault line where elemental prana meets the alchemy of modernity.

05 – Description of project report or thesis – written element

As this project is about witness and point of contact, it will make more sense as a project report versus thesis.  I can envision a small book as a project report detailing the process of investigation into the prana and the alchemy of modernity. The fault line is a tenuous space to illustrate but nature insists on invading our modern control with her own deliberate rhythm. Creating a book document is something I have always done – educated in the Rudolf Steiner tradition, I was expected to illustrate my discoveries in a pictorial collective diagramming new found understanding. As a graphics designer, I have loved diagramming my art proposals over the last year and see these presentations as a part of my creative process.

06 – Project results, e.g. documentation, performance, script, intervention, website, exhibition, book, journal

There will be several outcomes from this body of work. Certainly I hope to have an installation of the PRANA CUBE project. Thus far location and budget have been a limitation in realizing this 4 channel, rear projection installation. Additionally site specific installations would include video, sculpture and digital images and sound. Some of this work might be site specific and some will find manifestation in a gallery space.

·  07 – Brief description of research method *

Research methods have included primarily the act of witness beginning with what I see, what I perceive, how I witness prana in the world. The camera is a great witness recording a continuum of now. Research includes exploring nature and seeing land in geologic terms – listening to the voice of the landscape as a layered and tumultuous geologic legacy of alchemy. Exploring seeds and seed diversity and the continuum of plants in the GMO age is a research into power, big money and cultural suicide. My research includes a daily practice of yoga as ritual, as direct connection to the elements. Recently my research has led me to the handling and investigation of clay. This tactile research informs my sense of what is earth, what is form and how I might shape it. It’s a research into patience allowing the form to heal and dry and be reshaped. Research includes the tending of my plants in my garden, and the hosting of several beehives - listening and serving some 120,000 bees as they harvest and secure their alchemy of pollen to honey. Research includes an investigation of materials and their transformation. Alchemy is a science, where one thing becomes another. This research includes the news, advances in nanoscience, alternative energy, fracking, mining, nuclear traffic / accidents, climate change, earth news, super fund sites, toxic dumping and bio-mimicry.


Research also includes continuing to study other artist’s work. I am deeply interested in Wolfgang Laib at the moment. He exemplifies studio practice as spiritual practice; linking dharma and art making into one voice. I am forever looking at Louise Bourgois as a woman and a maker who is never limited by her medium, by her scale. She creates a sense of intimacy with her work from bronze, from thread, or from ink.

·  08 – Initial bibliography for written element *

Celant, Germano. Louise Bourgeois, The Fabric Works. Skira Editore S.p.A., Italy. 2010

Hickey, Dave. Pirates and Farmers: Essays on Taste.  2013


Wolfgang Laib: A Journey Paperback January 2, 1997 Clare Farrow (Contributor)


Lailach, Michael. Land Art. Taschen, 2007


Lo, Tedy. Planet LED. Gordon Goff publisher, Oro Editions. 2014


Lippard, Lucy. Undermining, A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West. The New Press, New York and London, 2014. Print


Myers, William. Bio Design, Nature Science, Creativity. MOMAThames & Hudson Ltd. London, 2012.


Rea, Shiva. Tending Heart Fire, living in Flow with the Pulse of Life. Sounds True, Boulder Colorado. 2014. Print


Weiwei, Ai. Art | Architecture. Distributed Art Pub Inc.,  2012


·  09 – Research question or hypothesis for thesis. For project report only if applicable.


·  10 – Intended audience *

After my last video installation Find Your Fortune (May 10, 2014) I realized my audience is all people – young, old, worldly, provincial, curious and closed minded. When you put your work out into the public you can hope for a certain exposure and receptivity to the work but in reality it’s a miracle when they actually engage in the work and take the time to explore. I found at the Fantase Dome Festival, in downtown Santa Fe – a six hour continuous stream of visitors wanting to “drop in” to the video and immerse in this new realm I had created. I was amazed to see the diversity of people who spent time with my work.

·  11 – Short statement on your current practice *

Currently my studio practice has escaped from the confines of digital/video editing and moved into a place where I explore making with my hands. New mediums have included gold leafing, silver leafing, collecting materials, ceramic/raku firing, and sculpture. I find myself using new tools – a dremel with all kinds of attachments, sizing and wide brushes for gold leafing, rasps and slab rollers in ceramic making. My studio practice has expanded to collecting and making objects that I eventually see being used in installations. I am exploring new mediums and collecting bees wax and bees wax sheets possibly for wallpapering. I am starting to make objects – small combinations of pieces that begin with collected rocks, dried cactus pods, seeds, wax, mirrors, feathers. I see video being combined into pieces as an integration of the concept/story and less about being annexed off into “video space”. I will continue to make projections for dance and see video as a way of building a set, describing a place and immersing the viewer. I will continue to explore multiple mediums for conveying the story – one not limited to the sterility of projection.

·  12 – Formulate entire project in 2-3 meaningful sentences. *

PRANA | ALCHEMY + NOW is a project integrating video, sculpture/objects, sound and digital images into a body of work that explores and contrasts points of confrontation between modernity and the elemental world.

·  13 – Technical description and production process including medium, quantity, size or duration *

This body of work will include a multitude of mediums; video/video loops video mapping and embedding video in sculpture, collection of items for installations range from mirrors, feathers, cactus cholla, ceramic sculpture, glass and digital images printed on fabric. The works will range in size from small, hand held pieces to potentially a 300 square foot, 4 channel, rear projection with sound installation.

·  14 – Connect past and future project *

Essentially I am continuing this exploration of prana and expanding on the foundation of this past year’s work. Where the focus has been on the elements specifically, I am expanding this process to include the alchemy of elements encountering modernity. I have stepped from witness/videographer into a different role of maker, feeling my hand in the work in human way.

·  15 – Connect studio and research project (if separate), explain how they inform each other.

I actually can’t see where studio ends and research begins. Asana as research and asana as action seem to have become one and the same. I begin again and again, connecting the dots between what I read and hear and absorb, and what is filtered and synthesized and manipulated through my perception and my hands.

The research of James Turrell and Olafur Elìasson was tremendously inspirational. The scope of these two artists work is incredibly momentous. Investigating their process over decades and coming to know their trajectory of work, their connection to the elements and interpretation of space and light has given me a great deal to synthesize. I feel their pull towards the landscape and how the work is a dialogue between earth and light and culture. Each of these artists incorporate a certain amount of technology with a sense of the elements in a way that I want to develop in my own work. There is a basis of geometry in their work as a structural understanding for space/installation which correlates to the idea of prana.

·  16 – Brief description of conceptual motivation *

My conceptual motivation lies in the basis of pranic understanding, a Vedic principle of life force. Conceptually I am informed by different movements in art. Certainly the Light and Space, Land/ Art movements inspire me conceptually. My main influence is the natural world and the layers of geometry, history, time and elemental alchemy intrinsically embedded.

·  17 – Short description and abstract (50-100 word) of written element *

Integrating video, installation, sculpture, sound and digital images into a body of work that explores and contrasts points of confrontation between modernity and the elemental world. It’s a conversation that involves faith and fortune, class and location, science and truth. The oxymoron that we literally are formed of stardust and then proceed as if we are wholly rational beings is often exposed at these points of contact. When we actually have to imagine securing an element like Plutonium 239 from human exposure for hundreds of thousands of years, we have to realize that it is beyond our cognitive design capacity. Our own inventions belong to geologic dimensions that exceed our grasp.

·  18 – Proportion of written/practical element *


·  19 – Possible location for the project *

Munoz Waxman Gallery, Santa Fe NM

University of Art and Design, Santa Fe, NM

Chirascurro Gallery, Santa Fe NM

Phill Space, Santa Fe NM

Lloyd Hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands


·  20 – Timeline for realization of project *

I would like to complete the PRANA CUBE  by mid Fall of 2014 and hopefully find a location for it by then. The PRANA | ALCHEMY + NOW project I see as a body of work that  I will continue to build on throughout this next year and into the Spring of 2015. I envision an exhibition of this work sometime early next Spring.

·  21 – Budget *


Budget for a 2 week installation:

4 Projectors (preferably short throw)

Rent 2300.


Steel Structure for screen/ cube           2500.

Rear Projection Material for Screen      1200.

Construction Sewing                               750.


Lease                                                      [1000.]



1 Sound Tube                               600.

Cushions 100.




·  22 – Additional supporting information