Hunter Gatherer

Gather and Baste Quilt


When I first had children, a male colleague joked, "you aren't going to start making baby art now, are you?" As an artist and a mother, there is indeed a strong desire to make work about what is undeniably a life-changing event. While motherhood has given me many wonderful, happy moments, there have also been innumerable moments of conflict and controversy that are worthy of exploring in art.

Hunter Gather is a reflection on parenting in a contemporary urban setting. The act of raising children is integral to the survival of humanity, and it brings out many instinctive behaviors in our species. Contemporary society is often at odds with these instinctive, animal behaviors, seeking to bend and shape our natural instincts to the rules of civilization. Modern parents, especially mothers, find themselves balancing deep "primal" needs with the expectations of contemporary life, and the navigation of these situations is part of our daily urban existence.

Videos in Hunter Gatherer explore some of these instinctive behaviors, including lactation, baby-wearing, and a baby's sampling of native flora. These videos are wrapped into the metaphor of the "hunter gatherer" by visual implication and the use of video effects to them from their natural contexts. The metaphor is further expanded to play on the traditional women's craft of sewing in the use of the gather metaphor, which is shown in the physical act of gathering cloth in the videos, as well as the use of the gather in the construction of the quilt.

The seeds of this work were germinated at a residency at Signal Culture, an organization that supports experimental media in Owego, NY. Many of the videos make use of the unique video signal processing equipment that they make available to artists, and conversations with directors Debora and Jason Bernagozzi were influential in forming these ideas.