A close-up view of a textured ceramic work.

Emily Abendroth

Artist in Residence, 2015

Artist Statement

A lot of the research, organizing, and thinking/writing work that I’ve been involved in over the past half-dozen years has revolved specifically around prisons and incarceration, as well as state regimes of punishment and control in the broadest sense. I place my own artistic efforts within that field of interventionist and documentary poetics which uses experimental modes to encourage changing orientations and the discovery of new models for engagement via the “making strange” of all too familiar arrangements and relationships. I strongly identify with the choices of those artists who have elected to employ volatile and complex forms in order to try to deal with volatile and complex subject materials. Within these exercises of lingual multiplicity, I find an important aesthetic reflection of the diverse, overlapping, messy and contradictory worlds that we as social beings always inescapably occupy, but which we also always have the capacity to remediate and transform.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands, I hope to complete an extended poetic essay project that has occupied my thinking across this past year, which is currently titled MICROFICHE / MICROFILCH / MICROMANAGE / MICROFEIGN: A Series of Reflections on the Experiences of Surveillance & Resistance. The piece makes use of an investigative poetic framework to bring conversations/concerns around representation, identity, and self-determination into generative contact and lively friction with those surrounding surveillance and security culture. It does so through the close examination of nearly a dozen specific examples both historical and contemporary in nature. This work has been particularly exciting for me given its capacity to be introduced to individual spaces/audiences in a range of different multi-media formats. The work’s numbered sections are meant to both stand alone as discrete explorations (i.e. to operate modularly) and to accumulate and play off of one another when encountered consecutively (i.e. to be cross-resonant).