The Beauty of Burden
Like a beast of burden I pull my load. The Beauty of Burden is a series of short films that reflect on the encumbrance of the weight of life and celebrate the beauty that can be derived from those struggles.
The labor-intensity of farm-work has always been a part of my life. Incorporating this aspect is a way of bringing my life into my art because art and life should, in some way, reflect one another. Our connection to the physical lays in the intangible. The struggle that I demonstrate when I pull my burden is a visualization of my struggle to press forward with all of my burdens, both tangible and intangible.
I pull these bundles as if I were pulling a load of hay bales. The bundles I haul in the piece ‘Pull’ are the majority of my possessions at home and the bundles I pull in the piece ‘Burden’ and ‘Burden in the Rain’ are the majority of my possessions at Mount Vernon. In the three main performances I pull more than my own body weight. This is a reflection on strength, perseverance, and the strength found in community.
I work with video because through the moving picture I can engage multiple senses, both audio and visual. This helps my work create its own world. In this space the viewer can reflect on their own burdens, revealing a beauty that is often hidden from one’s sight while under its weight.
December 4th 2013
In this piece I pull the majority of my possessions at home with the help of my Mother. As we pull the burden, the sun dances across the floor, addressing the time it took for us to pull our load. A metal board catches the burden but we pull on. With a bold snap we pry our way out and continue on. Completing the cycle I release myself from the burden and walk past a small portion of the cart, now broken underfoot. The footage then repeats. This cycle reflects the continuous cycle of the farm laborer day in and day out. Farming has always been a part of my life and so this cycle of work and rest is a prominent part on my life. This is in celebration of that labor that strengthens the body and soul.
Leaning forward I pull my burden by a rope. Dipping towards the ground, my hair graces the carpeted floors, my head nearly hitting its roughened interior as I round the bend. These bundles are the majority of my possessions here in Mount Vernon. They are about the same size as a typical bale of hay, but wrapped in plastic wrap. I pull my load along a rounded hallway. The rope pulls at my skin; my body becomes like a furnace as I pull this burden. Weighing at 262 pounds, it is cumbersome. But I complete the cycle. Like a hard days work in the sun I feel its drain on my body, but I am glad to have done it. I felt weak then, but I was made stronger.
This piece is a reflection on love and how some in our flawed humanity treat it as something to be consumed rather than a whole thing to be cherished. I eat the rose as if I were consuming an idea rather than truly understanding the beauty of it.
This piece is inspired by the following quote:
“Some books are to be tasted,
others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested:
that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously,
and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”
–Sir Francis Bacon
This piece reflects on the burden of knowledge and my struggles to pursue it.
(Do not do this at home folks)
At the beginning of the day when I get up I see the unedited version of myself; without makeup, with messy hair, and dark circles under my eyes. Then I cover up those flaws with makeup. I show the presentable side on myself. But sometimes in a search for perfection I cover up more and more of myself so that I no longer recognize the woman in the mirror. And as the day comes to a close, the makeup comes off and the real me is yet again exposed. In the end of this piece, just like at the end of the day I reflect on the same unmasked beauty I did at the beginning. Questions run through my mind like: What is beauty? Who can define it? Is it obtainable? But the simple truth is that true beauty has no form. It’s found in the mind and in the soul, not in the skin or on the mirror. So, I urge you to look within to find that true image of beauty.
Burden in Rain
The rain pounds the concrete as figures traverse across the plain, carrying umbrellas to protect against the harsh weather conditions. I run against the crowd. Uncovering my burden, I futilely attempt to pull it. Then people I don’t even know help me pull the burden. Dragging it in the rain, the bales make an eerie scrapping noise as they drag across the concrete. The credits roll and the footage loops in reflection of the cycle of the daily burdens we face. The task is done one day but must be repeated the next. This is the way of life of a farmer. This repetition brings harmony and rhythm to life, making me appreciate the little things in life all the more.
Detail of Burden
Detail of Burden
This minimal piece focuses on the boots and bale of the puller. This is like a Van Gogh’s 1886 painting One Pair of Shoes. It captures the realness that speaks volumes about the wearer of the shoes without uttering a single word. Every scratch, scuff, and paint splatter, has a story both big and small to tell about my life and my art. These marks bring what Heidegger talks about to the world of my work. They bring realness to my art through various moments in my life. These moments mark our hearts in various ways leaving nothing untouched.