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The Naughty Operetta

The Naughty Operetta is my exploration of the relationship between the inner landscape of the mind and the external expression of it through our accumulation or reduction of material things. As the mind accumulates memories + experiences, the patterned organization and provisional nature of value + importance are manifested in the world revealed.

My father was a hoarder. His accumulation of things with seemingly no value overtook his external world. It became clear that this was an expression of his inability to let go or change. His accumulating world became a presentation of decisions made and kept. Nothing could be moved, only added to. I ponder whether this was happening in his mind. If so, all memories had equal value, all memories must be reified through recording and never were the memories to be revised. No memory could be discarded + processed in order to move on or make space for new ones.

On the other hand, my mother has Alzheimer’s and cannot access any memory. Hers are locked up in accumulated muck in her brain. Her expression is silence. As she was progressing from full consciousness into the maturity of the disease, her efforts were to rid herself of things.  She even gave away our family photo albums, I suppose because they held absolutely no value to her anymore. Clothing, jewelry, books and even the way she looked began to have absolutely no meaning for her anymore. She expressed this lack of value by not worrying about what she wore, how she looked and by throwing her clothing away.

I, too, have accumulated things that I deem valuable in some way (sometimes to my regret) and have rid myself of other things that I think are worthless to me (sometimes to my regret). Why have I made the choices that I have may never be fully understood. In this body of work, I am acknowledging my own relationship to things that I have…drawings, paintings, and the classic litany of inherited memorabilia and trash that I think I will use someday for something. I am transforming them into things that sometimes make no sense and are also provisional, like memory. I am acknowledging the recent research in neuroscience that has proven that any given memory, every time it is recalled, is up for revision or subject to change, and that it is inaccurate. The pieces are often constructed with materials that can be changed…tape, twist ties, pins and they are re-ordered every time they are assembled. Some are caked on with old drawings where the original object is indiscernible and in that way being rendered useless or so unrecognizable that they could not be valued or purposed for anything. All are subject to change, provisional and revisable.