Wednesday, February 20, 2013


During my interview with Meg, my recording device mysteriously quit working multiple times. Maybe the fact that her studio is a former funeral home has something to do with it? At any rate, I am missing bits of the audio to transcribe..including her telling us about where she grew up, (which was Texas), and where she started college ( which was in California..) so let's pick it up there:

EC: What were you up to in California?

MN: I was assisting for a photographer and worked  for a production company that made music videos.I was a I just ran around and did whatever they told me to do.

EC: Around LA?

MN: Mmhm. It was okay, it was fun. 
When I moved here, I was going to try to get a job doing either basic production work, or assisting - it was season and I hadn't saved enough money, so I just kind of started playing music, and did that for a while..and then... yeah, after a while, that got tiring, so I decided to go back to school.

EC: Where did you decide to go to school at that point?

MN: Columbia College..I'm still there. It's my last semester.

EC: For photo?

MN: For photo, yeah.

EC: Is that where you are most of the time in your brain...pretty photo-centric?

MN: It's really hard for me to divert from that impulse..yknow? Like, I think a lot of people have a sense of their primary practice..maybe I'm wrong. But that's where the creative origin typically is..I have to force myself to step back from it.
As much as I love doing other things..I'm thinking of an image. Whether that eventually turns into a video, or a performance.. in my head I see it as a still.

"Beaver Tree"

"Frowny Face"

Untitled "Tools"

EC: Have you ever delved into the world of film-making?

MN: I have loose plans to make shorts..but I don't know. My boyfriend is a grad student at UIC, and he makes films... but he always says,"I make movies."
I feel like there's a very specific language that I'm missing, and that I should know... whether you say you want to make films, or movies or videos..that specific diction I'm not sure of..

I always assumed that..and this is just out of my brain, not based on any sort of real research..that a movie was talking about a moving the broadest term of any work that's time-based..and a video was talking about the means of production. If you're talking about a film, you're talking about making something with shooting 16, or shooting 8..whereas a video could be, I don't DV or something like that.

EC: I watched a video..I'm going to call it a video..of yours..
it was the only video I saw on your website. What was it called, and what was it about?

MN: The performance was called "I, who have felt the horror of mirrors"..and it was based around trying to heighten the presence and experience of the gaze; the gaze in feminist a Laura Mulvey kind of sense.

It's based on a Laura Mulvey essay. She talks about how narrative cinema finds ways of objectifying women, and forces the gaze upon the female, which continues to objectify her..and also the multi-faceted ways it happens in culture.

That work was supposed to be a way for me to talk about perception of the gaze... mostly coming from a point where I understand the world as a seemingly genderless place..which is seen as a crime in some people's eyes.

EC: Calling the world genderless?

MN: Yeah. Well while I do feel objectified by it all of the getting cat called, for instance...I think that it happens to men, too..and it happens to everyone. Everyone is objectified, and the person who objectifies me the most is me.
Culture creates a mirror in front of you.

So the performance is about me trying to heighten all of the aspects of the gaze,and to amplify it. Your eyes emit a frequency of 18 Hz. Everything has a natural frequency. In the room, there's an amplifier that emits a frequency of 18 Hz, which is like... really loud.In that small space it was like, "RRRRRRRR" ..really oppressive. There's a mirror that I stand in front of, and I make continual eye contact with myself. In a meditative state, I think about the ways in which i objectify it's this really self-deprecating meditation...and I'm wearing a bathrobe that says "Ouroboros"..
So there are just little signifiers that talk about continual self-destruction because of hyperculture and yadayada.

EC: What role did your audience play in that?

MN: It was different in different spaces. I think the ultimate concept of that work is moving into..other people doing those performances.I'm currently trying to find other performance spaces so that other people can perform it. It's really important that other people can experience it and project it out. 

The way that the audience acted in that situation was very strange. They could feel the intensity of that room... 18 Hz is meant to induce fear and anxiety. That's what NASA discovered while studying this frequency. So being in a room where you can't see much chroma..everything is rendered kind of black and white..( you can see some, but it's stripped to this very blunt contrast )..I found that most people would either feel very uncomfortable and enter the same kind of mind state that I was in, or they would like..feel a sense of sympathy,and feel the need to be in that room to be with me..which was really weird. I never would have expected that kind of response...especially from strangers. I think overall that was the main response..either people would feel directly intimidated, or somehow weirdly soothed, and want to soothe me, too.

"I, who have felt the horror of mirrors"

EC: Hm. that's interesting. I wish I could have been there to see it.

I wanted to ask you about your collages..
Is that sort of an extension of photography for you?

MN: Um, I think I originally started making them because I wanted to try and map out designs for photographs. I was planning on having an exercise to make compositions for making into photographs..but I started to really enjoy the materiality of cutting things, and the way when things are reproduced and flattened, reproduced and flattened again, they become really hyperbolic, in a way.

I was starting to get sick of making the straight image , and I loved trying to find a way to appropriate these very strange stock-looking images from text books... and I don't know..when I was a kid, I was a total craft weirdo..I was always making different little things, like tons of them..and so... it's just's like sketching for me. Very calming. 

EC: Less pressure.

MN: Yeah,yeah.

EC: Do you ever use your own photographs in your collages?

MN: There was one that I had made with one of my pictures..and I've considered it. I think it just hasn't accumulated that way yet.

Untitled ( Craft collage, Heads )

Untitled ( Craft collage, Macabre )

Untitled ( Craft collage )

Untitled ( Tool collage )

EC: And when you take pictures, do you have a subject matter that you usually work within, or is it an exploration of surroundings, or..?

MN: Um, you mean just the straight photographs?

EC: Yes.

MN: I think that I make mostly conceptual work..but I don't know. It's all been different. Some of the older stuff was...they were either project based, I'm not uh..I don't make vernacular photographs. I'm not like, out making pictures everyday. Most of the time it's very pre-meditated. 

EC: Gotcha.

MN: Even if the concept is, "I'm gonna go on a trip, and take as many pictures as i can."

EC: Where was that mobile you were showing me installed?

MN: It was installed in an installation room at Columbia. 

EC: What compelled you to make a mobile?

MN: Nancy Sparrow made this piece that was appropriating some of her earlier illustrations that then was turned into a Maypole. She was appropriating some of her earlier illustrations that were warrior heads that had been decapitated. They're not brutal or finely detailed, but primitive and minimal sketches that were then blown up and put onto sheet metal or something like that. But I liked the way that these heads were just sort of... floating in space. 

****This is where the ghosts once again seized control of my recording device. Below, we are referencing "The Craft"...a movie made in 1996. It is categorized as an "American supernatural teen horror film."****

I was trying to think about an object that would kind of revolve around witchcraft. It seemed kind of witchy to me, in the way that it would sort of mirror a compass or would align with like..worldly magnetism or something..y'know? (Hah) So that piece was called "Hail to the Guardians of the Watchtower" which was a thing that they said before one of their big spells in the movie..
I thought between the title of that, and the way it would move through space... with their heads just floating in space...would be nice. And the way that the backs of them are like, kind of a black ..they're not a mirrored finish, but when you would see them, they would reflect upon each other, and you the viewer, and the space..

"Hail to the Guardians of the Watchtower"

EC: What do you do outside of school and your art-making practice?

MN: I'm currently in a project thats going really slow...with my friend Todd. We both like droney sad girly things, works out.

EC: You make drone music?

MN: Somewhere in-between shoegaze and drone,now.
We don't even really have any songs, we're just jamming.

No comments:

Post a Comment