If I were to distill my creative life down to a single word, it would be translation. My longest-running act of translation began at age nine, when my family left the snow-covered Swedish subarctic for Texas. As we stepped off the plane in Dallas, everything shifted: the air was heavy and warm, the sky was larger, a necessity for a brighter, more demanding sun. Everything we had known had to be translated to fit this new place: our language, our food, our clothes, the stories we had carried with us. I have spent years crisscrossing the shifting chasm known to all immigrants. I understand that in all acts of translation, new meanings are forged, just as others are lost.
In my work, I am primarily concerned with how American stories are translated across time. Stories are the pillars of the self, showing us who have been, who we are now, and who we are becoming — and yet, stories are intangible as they slide across time, shapeshifting between fact and fiction. My work investigating the lifecycles of American stories across the past, present, and future has pulled me towards the specter of deep time. Scientists have not yet reached a consensus on what time is — some, like Einstein and Hawking, have suggested that all time already exists, that we might be caught in an infinite instant that already includes our future. I create collages with photographs — slicing and reorganizing slivers of frozen time — to explore how our stories might exist indefinitely in deep time.
Across all my projects, I look at how Americans arbitrarily hold and reject aspects of their wide-ranging stories, and how this gives shape to a continually shifting national identity. I seek to reconcile storytelling with intergenerational equity, considering the responsibility storytellers have to their ancestors and descendants. I am especially interested in how Americans are working with their most difficult stories, and how these narratives continue to shape-shift as they move across generations.
More to come. Thank you for reading.