Present absence


Present Absence makes visible the lives of people killed by Chicago Police or in police custody. This five-channel video installation is generated from intimate long-form interviews with the family members of those killed to see the impacts of these murders on families and communities.

Created with Meredith Zielke

Present Absence exhibits with Rachel Wallis's largescale quilt, Gone But Not Forgotten, memorializing more than 200 people killed by Chicago Police since 2006, sewn in restorative justice circles publicly held throughout Chicago in fine art and community settings.

See photos shot by Martin Macias and me that document the community-based quilting circles here.

We Are Here To Build The House (2014)

This installation creates a domestic fantasy world of experimental video, fiber art, and the live performance of cooperative weaving. It premiered at the Bridgeport Art Center as part of the multimedia performance, From Here To There, from NON Opera.

Created with Lauren La Rose.

Watch the full installation video here.

In Transit (2009)

In Transit, a photography/animation project, explores the relationship between the still and the moving image: how the framing, juxtaposing and sequencing of still images (frames) continually reconstructs point of view and renews the dynamic relationship among the viewer, the subject, and the camera; how narrativity converts “seen” into “scene.” In Transit reveals my fascination with glass, light, and the power of the reflected image to both stimulate and satisfy our appetite for stories. 

Voices in Time: Lives in Limbo (premiered as 30 Days of Art and Education on Women’s Incarceration) (2002-2007)

This interactive installation was situated in an artistically recreated prison cell filled with the stories of women and their children: on video and audio, through family photos, letters, a prison diary, and a quilt made from clothing swatches donated by incarcerated women and girls. The stories were woven with factual information about the prison system.  Openings were accompanied by original live performances by formerly incarcerated women and audience discussions.

This Beyondmedia project was created with women in the prison system and art students. It toured Chicago and surrounding areas over a 5-year period. The accompanying essay, which appeared in Feminist Studies, includes photos and video stills as well as interview excerpts.

Unfinished Business (2005)

Multimedia installation: A four-poster bed, weighed down with the flotsam of my waking dream life: artist, daughter, parent, lover, friend: my mother’s useless bric-a-brac, all the footage I never captured, old writing, photos of lost relations and missing people. On the beside table, pebbles bearing messages from the wide world carrying pain and free floating anxiety. Pillow teeming with never-ending to-do post-its. Swooping from the bed to the ceiling, a sheet carrying the projections of the dream life stalking the dreamer. Las Manos Gallery

The Gradual Making of the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

“I always wanted to be historical, from almost a baby on, I felt that way about it, and Penny and Salome were two of the earliest ones that made me be certain that I was going to be. I have always known it and now I say it.” –Gertrude Stein

A live performance with video adapted from the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Alice’s Cookbook, and video documenting the performers’ process. With Penny Farfan, Block Museum, Northwestern University. The accompanying review appeared in Theatre Journal.

Beijing and Beyond: Women Artists Respond – Women's Caucus for Art (1997-1999)

I created an installation around my documentary, Beyond Beijing, to tour with a collection of art by women in conjunction with the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. The Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA), an NGO of the United Nations, was founded in 1972.  A.R.C. Gallery and U.S. tour