Partitions of Unity

This show was originally about energy, and a grand environmentalist statement about collective actions having a single, uniting focal point, and the consequences/benefits of the focused impact of individuals on a grand scale. The partitions of unity refers to a mathematical technique for decomposing the baseline of one into a number of special distinct, but inter-related, functions that always return back to one when summed together. This technique is used to transform local observations into global ones. My baseline, the single point, was originally the sun, the source of all life, etc. etc. The initial idea was to explore energy, radiation, and layers of life (machine, art/ifice, plant, human,) energy usage (hence the nuclear technology and scientific instruments) and the mushrooms, which feed on the energy of another life form, and ultimately break it down, returning it to the earth. I started with the spore (a recurring theme of mine), symbolizing potency and single-minded purpose (reproduction), and moved into the mushrooms that release these spores. Mushrooms are capable of breaking down petroleum products and pesticides, and clean the soil of contaminants, and I was calling upon the mushrooms to be the ones to break down nuclear waste as well, since there are no other existing life forms capable of doing such a thing. I wanted to give them the opportunity to reclaim their tarnished reputation and no longer be associated with the notorious "mushroom cloud.” Additionally, mushrooms are commonly believed by many cultures to be a path towards a collective consciousness.

Why is it a surprise when the work turns out to be about me? I go through elaborate contortions to distance myself from the work, to try to project out into the fields of my interests and passions, and seek out answers to global issues. I try to understand these issues a little better through my own random filter of intuition and research, pursuing investigations from many aspects that stem from a single unit, the spore. And then, in a flash of insight, I recognize myself in the work, and discover that I was there all along, waiting for me to catch up. The sun is not the sum of the partitions of unity, but it is me, acting as the nucleus of this complex thought process. It is myself: divided and concealed. I am the Mother Spore.

Mushrooms are the sexual organs of the mycelium, the larger fungus structure, which often remains entirely hidden inside the host—either soil or a tree stump, whatever it is feeding from. How is this any different from the way I find myself to be behaving at this time in my life? Here I am, a woman approaching 30 yrs., hiding the complete self, and instead flaunting only one aspect of who I am. In this time, technology and social media allow us to expose aspects of ourselves without ever allowing anyone in to know the rest of us (Congressman Weiner: Patron Saint of Sexting, or just another evolved primate like everyone else?). At this point in my life, I am discovering a side of myself, as a sexually powerful woman. I spend a lot of time sculpting not just objects in the studio, but also my body, as a yoga practitioner and instructor, and (since I am really being honest here) there is an element of pride resulting from this work, and an ego-driven, attention-seeking desire to share the results. From the clothes that I wear, to the way that I dance and behave, I am unabashedly featuring my mushroom, and allowing it to obscure the rest of me. Or is my mushroom an enticement, to draw others to me? Is this a defense mechanism, or simply biological motivation? Can it be controlled, and does it have to be?

How far do I dare stretch this metaphor? If the complete self is the mycelium, then the mushroom is in service to its propagation, but if the complete self is the host of the organism, then the relationship is parasitic, and the whole operation is doomed to become just rich soil for the next generation. If I'm REALLY honest, then the whole mushroom/sexuality is just a façade, masking the loneliness and isolation that I have experienced while making the show, and dealing with the loss of love. Alone in the studio for many hours, I would attempt to reach out to someone, anyone, cast my spores (if you will) via texting and the Internet, hoping to make some kind of contact with someone else. Sorry about all this, I can't help it. It's all about me anyway, but maybe you can relate.

 
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