The philosophy/approach driving my work over the past 15 years has centered on themes of terrorism, consumer culture, celebrity, death, afterlife, memory, fantasy, imagination, and representation.
My previous video installations—rp-shooter and Darksides—examined “representations” of fact versus fiction through the ubiquitous presence of TV in our homes, the incomplete information we receive from TV, and our interpretation of that information through limited perceptions. These installations were exhibited at museums and university galleries as printed photographs and time-based videos made with themes that “terrorize” me: violence, disasters, talk shows glorifying scandals, and commercials promoting consumerism. The resulting “broadcasts” I created from these video installations raised questions about how reliable our interpretation of the world is, and how many vantage points we need for constructing a meaningful existence, including beliefs about death, cemeteries, grave sites, and the afterlife.
I am also inspired by Surrealist work questioning what is “real,” such as René Magritte’s "Ceci n'est pas une pipe," French for "This is not a pipe."
Andy Warhol is dead. He is buried in a cemetery in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania…but so many people believe him to be “alive” in afterlife. Similar to Magritte’s pipe, this is “not” Andy Warhol as we knew him on earth…but as an afterlife “representation.” He is alive as a “figment” in so many people’s memories and imaginations.
Andy Warhol said in a statement about death that he wanted his tombstone to say “Figment.” His statement opened up a door not only for my own imagination but for so many other visitors to his grave. For me, my personal visits to Andy’s grave made me wonder why other people visit him from all over the world. After eight years of photographing Andy’s tombstone every day, archiving items and handwritten notes for him left at his grave, and shooting video and making movies of visitors “talking” to him or performing for him, I have found a global community of people creating their own “figment” of Andy..