Paying attention

The text and videos below were featured in the Schnitzer Gallery and Portland State University for the 2016 Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize. I was the first place prize recipient. 

These video and audio archives are documents of prompts being performed. These prompts are meant to be starting points for new experiences as well new artistic creations. They all begin the same way:

Pay attention to the space around you.

Pay attention to the space inside you.

Pay attention to both at the same time.

Each prompt ends differently:

Take a risk. Get comfortable. Tell the story of a memory.

These prompts are part of a larger project titled Doing Theory.

Doing Theory is an experimental study group that explores contemporary ethics through creative exercises, lifestyle choices and simple personal practices. The group meets primarily online but the work we do as individuals is meant to reach into our relationships, communities and environments. These videos, and the prompts they originated from, come from the initial questions posed to the group which focused on agency and personal awareness in relationship.

The scope of Doing Theory is ambitious and evolving. Currently the group is centered around monthly essays and reading lists which develop from a central inquiry of ethical practice. For example, in November of 2016 we will consider the ethics of nonviolence. For this month we will strive to take a multi-dimensional approach to informing ourselves about the nature of violence, considerations of complex issues which surround violence, and the tenets and requirements of nonviolence as a choice. Along with reading, writing and conversation we will also make art and performances, organize events and instigate social interactions which will add new information, diverse viewpoints and innovation to our discussions.

Our work together does not seek answers insomuch as it seeks to create expansive dialogue around challenging and important issues.

Doing Theory began on September 22, 2016 and will finish on October 1, 2017. To date there are 123 people participating from 5 countries and 3 continents. The project will continue to be open to anyone who wishes to join until September 1, 2017.

Take a risk

Get comfortable

Tell the story of a memory