I am an artist invested in witnessing what is marked, lost, and lingers in the aftermath of death. I imagine place as a metaphor for a collective body: alive, breathing, and ever-evolving. Using this framework, I examine the phenomenological, historical, and subjective remnants of knowledge embedded within landscape. My practice begins in the field, where I borrow research strategies from ethnography and utilize a foundational language of drawing to record sensory experiences. Returning to the studio, I apply organizational processes of assemblage and editing to translate what I have collected into hybrid forms of image, performance, and installation. Challenging the structural apparatus of the map, the archive, and the document, I explore how abstraction can act as a feminist and anti-colonial intervention, exposing the slippery boundaries of collective memory.

Throughout the past ten years, the main subject of my work has involved ritually visiting sites of burial, both contemporary and ancient. Becoming a project of conceptual tourism, this investigation has continually generated questions about the unique entanglements of time, maintenance, hierarchies of social politics, and community’s role in the production of place. I am reminded that this world we make together was born of the dead and will be inherited by the future. This practice is rooted in an urge to hold onto fleeting moments of our mundane humanness, asking what they can tell us about what it means to be a person in this world.

Working with a multitude of emerging modalities, including collaboration, I am an anti-disciplinary artist.

Lydia Smith 

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