Saturday, April 23, 2011

Identifying with Carrie Schneider at SpeakEasy

by Dean Liscum

I celebrated 4-20 with a little self-discovery at SpaceTaker. As part of its SpeakEasy series (which is a great way to learn about and meet local artist in every discipline), Carrie Schneider discussed her art projects, which involve discovering and defining the self at various levels.

On a personal level, she delves into the essence of being over time in the project, A Self-Compassion. In this series of works, she converses with projected images of her younger self as toddler, pre-schooler, teenager. Perhaps in an attempt to capture some of the kinesthetic memories of her childhood, she retraces old letters and diary entries. The series is rounded out with photographs that consist of contemporary photographs of  her superimposed on photographs from her youth.

Repeated Physiogmony, March 2009
video stills from video projected on photographs
On a human level, she explores the commonality of experience with Stage Exchange. In this project, she creates exchange sites (both physical and virtual), where people can exchange information (advise, stories, question, etc.) about various stages of life that they have experienced or are experiencing.

Stage Exchange  Houston, TX April 2010
On a group or community level, she participates in the exchange of stories in Story Trading. Schneider exchanges stories with one person and remembers that first person's story. She then exchanges stories with a second person, retelling the first person's story and remembering the second person's story. She repeats this pattern ad infinitum (or ad Alzheimers). In this performance, she acts as both a resource and a re-distributor of these narratives, which rely on her for adherence to the stories facts, tone, phrasing, etc.

Story Trading:
(Left) Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD May 2009
(Right) Labotanica, Houston, TX June 2010
Schneider has many other projects including Describe Something Completely in which ten people are described in flavors and invited to taste each other, Physiognomy in which she has fun with the pseudo-science, facial expressions, and photoshop, and Who Belongs in which she examines inclusion, exclusion, and economics. She also uses her skills as an artist in working with a group of Burmese immigrants in southwest Houston. You can view all of her projects here.

To a greater or lesser degree, you'll find that they involve fresh approaches to the challenge of identifying oneself in various economic, social, political, and personal contexts. And that's a good thing.


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