I grabbed these wires from the back yard of my family's home, displaced by my father in gradual response to the obsoleteness of his job as an entertainment technician. Originally, they were placed in a circular form that already looked like a nest. I am weaving these cables together as a feminine act that also refers to "dressing the wires," a phrase that refers to placing the wires in a clean fashion within the site of installation. The new work I am doing involves exploring my living at home with my family in the Bay Area as a site of waste and clutter and simultaneously, as a site of home-making. This piece is a portrait of my dad and his job.
The Creators Project: Nikki S. Lee Video & Article:
The above link contains a video and article offering a great summary of Nikki S. Lee's artwork. I keep coming back to find updates on what Lee has been working on and am still particularly drawn to her photo-set, Projects. Much of her work deals with self-image and how she identifies in relation to others as she explores how others perceive her. Projects is a photo performance piece of Lee's aesthetic assimilation to stereotyped hip-hop crew, seniors, punks, lesbians, tourism and more. Although briefly mentioned in the video and article, her work is greatly tied to her South Korean identity and her identity as an immigrant to the United States. Through the lens of her foreign identity, she is able to come up with artworks exploring the cultures within the US as well as pieces that how others internationally perceive her. In Layers, Lee super-imposes illustrations of herself upon each other, each drawing produced by illustrators around the world. This piece captures the fluid "layers" through which self-image and perception is subjectively conceptualized. Furthermore, I find Parts most empowering in which Lee crops out the male figure situated near her, leaving herself, the woman as the main figure our eye moves toward. This piece definitely brings out the tension between having to be linked to all these different men and the literal split produced by the crop.
Lee's performance also exists with photography as she claims, "...I'm not an avid photographer on a normal basis." Using "manual snapshot cameras," Lee uses the medium of photography to contrast modern digital photography, highlighting the static and anachronistic perceptions of race, gender, sexuality and other forms of identity. This is emphasized in the flash quality of the photos and the date-stamps. The loose framing, cropping and lack of consideration in composing the photo are all qualifiers of bad photography. Especially in Projects, however, these seemingly degenerate stylistic choices reinterpret American perceptions that categorize subjects deemed degenerate in Western society. As a result, a piece like Projects pushes viewers to think of themselves when thinking about race, gender and identity.
Her work inspires me significantly to further think about how I conceptualize my own identity. A lot of my work has a lot to do with self-image and identity. I am constantly motivated, yet currently struggling to figure out how, to incorporate more of my complex personal identity as an Asian American Chinese Peruvian woman and how that is perceived among others into my art practice.
The past two years, in the month of March, I've buzzed my hair short: one at SuperCuts for THAT GUY...WITH GREAT HAIR, and one in a bathroom for 01 is not Born. Instead of buzzing my hair this year, I've decided to explore what it's like to have long hair again, especially as an Asian woman. Right now, long hair is currently helping me explore and question intimacy and how enacting intimacy is gendered. With hair intimacy, I am thinking about the fetishist desire to run hands and fingers through a woman's hair, how a mother has the authority to comb and style her daughter's hair over the father, how friends who are girls can get together at a salon or someone's house to get their hair done together. There is certainly an intimate and communal relationship that I wish to dive into, hair being at the top of my mind right now.