for the Visual Arts Program at Columbia University School of the Arts
Over the last year, I have been mining TIME’s corporate archives to learn more about the history of fact-checking, a profession created by TIME in 1923. TIME’s reporting was advertised as “written after the most exhaustive scrutiny of news-sources.” However this “exhaustive scrutiny” was considered women’s work from its inception. Indeed early fact-checking manuals include instructions that the checkers maintain their “domestic list of chores.” Through this research, I aim to interrogate the historical association between women’s work and fact-checking, particularly within today’s “post-fact” information landscape.
The earliest advertisements for TIME magazine often relied on myths and the use of male pronouns to describe the work done by the women fact-checkers. Using these advertisements as a point of departure, I am in the midst of composing tableaus with found artifacts and office materials from the 1920s. The gathered objects reflect employment requirements found in early fact-checking manuals. These assemblages combine evidence and mythologies in order to visualize TIME’s absurd language that describes the women’s labor.
I am also using carbonless paper as both a material and a proxy for the simultaneous presence and absence of these women and their contribution to modern journalism. The majority of the remaining documents that detail the first fact-checkers’ experiences are third-person accounts written by their male colleagues. I have been photographing these records in the archive, translating the images into 3D-printed polymer plates that are then run through a contemporaneous, but ink-less, printing press. By using only pressure in place of ink, I render the facsimiles useless, for the debossed text is only be legible under certain angles of light. Only the carbons (the so-called ‘yellows’ and ‘pinks’) reveal the secondhand information.
The advertisements, work manuals, and archived third-person accounts, present a sustained male gaze through which the women and their work was seen, recorded, and mythologized.
This triptych is a facsimile of the original rules for fact-checking from 1923.
This triptych presents a love poem written by an early TIME writer for and about the women fact-checkers.
I am also in the process of recording a series of musical numbers about fact-checking created by this same writer. The songs range from re-writing the lyrics of contemporaneous Broadway musicals to composing original love songs.
The only recorded first-person account of the early days of fact-checking is found in an interview conducted by TIME in 1958. The remaining transcript, however, includes very few quotes from the checkers themselves with the majority of the document dedicated to the interviewer’s notes on their demeaner and appearance. As I translate photographs of the transcript into polymer plates, I am removing any language that is not a direct quotation of one of the fact-checkers. Read anew, a true, if poetically nonsensical, first-person account of the early days of fact-checking is revealed.
Inked Vandercook pressed print
11 x 8.5 in each
Record of Cherry Road questions the believability of evidence through a collaboration with my aunt and uncle both paranormal investigators in Memphis, Tennessee. Together we investigated my family’s home, the farmhouse of an old plantation, seeking proof for a seemingly unprovable theory. Storied to be haunted, the house contains a multitude of histories that are ever-present yet hidden. The landscape itself, with its conflicting landmarks of Egyptian pyramids and Christian crosses, remains haunted by its troubled past.
We gathered evidence through photographs, frequency readings, audio recordings, and skotographic approaches invented by the Spiritualists. Our findings are presented alongside vintage photographs, hand-drawn maps, and recorded accounts from my mother’s childhood. When viewed together, however, the documents simultaneously corroborate and confuse resulting in divergent interpretations of the same evidence.
Referencing spirit photography from the nineteenth century, when ectoplasm was made of cotton, and contemporary images of the paranormal, where chromatic aberrations are not just an artifact of a digital sensor, the project questions our continued reliance on photography to prove a belief. Do we simply see what we believe, or do we believe what we see? Like paranormal investigators, I rely on lifeless machines to create and validate the intangible spirit of the lived, but the resulting images, like ghost stories, are both real and imaginary.
Markings of a visual disturbance using contemporary paranormal investigator’s tools and scientific methods.
The unseen footsteps would often stop at Cary’s door and knock. This image depicts the space recorded using only a 523nm wavelength of light (believed to be one of the proper frequencies for visualizing human energies).
“Skotographs” describe images produced by spirits on otherwise unexposed photographic materials. Traditional Skotographs have long been abandoned by paranormal researchers as a strategy to visualize a paranormal presence and instead now embrace quantum theories of light (where energy particles have been found to cross time and space) and translating such theories into custom-made tools and measuring devices for human energies. I have combined century-old techniques with contemporary tools to potentially create a wholly new way to visualize these disturbances and to question our continued faith in technology to give us access to worlds beyond our comprehension.
This installation at The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in San Francisco presents a seemingly one-sided conversation between an investigator and a paranormal presence that purportedly exists between a specific triangle of trees. Using speakers embedded throughout the space, the voice of the investigator was programmed to seemingly move through the empty gallery, retracing her steps as she walked around the trees. The audience then is presented with a possible documentation of aural disturbances as well as a new ghostly presence moving through the gallery space.
Measuring aural disturbances #1
Digital audio recording, presented as an immersive installation
Dimensions variable, runtime 4:27 minutes
When I first began researching contemporary paranormal scientific methods, I contacted a leading paranormal investigator in the US. In exchange for teaching me his methods, I worked as his photographic analyst reviewing images submitted from around the country. My task was to verify the artifacts in images that could be explained (and therefore, not paranormal) and to corresponded with each person who submitted potential evidence of paranormal activity.
These exchanges resulted in this artist’s book. Each spread presents a different photograph. The text on the left is the submitter’s description of their image, and the text on the right is my analysis. No images are included in this photobook. The reader is left to imagine the original photograph by finding their own middle ground between the two reports of the same image.
Saddlestitch artist’s book
edition of 50
On September 29, 2008, the stock market crashed. In an instant, many experienced an unprecedented loss of wealth, home, and security, but the subsequent contraction of the economy, opportunity, and jobs endured for years to come.
Presented in chronological order, these screenshots are a selection of ‘goodbye’ emails collected from former employees of a single New York-based company. Goodbye emails are often an employee’s last chance to share private contact information with coworkers and to reflect on their time at the company. While many emails project a demeanor of professionalism, others are more unabashed and frank with their sentiments.
Some of these employees left of their own accord, some were laid off, and some were fired. When an employee was asked to leave, HR and IT aimed to disconnect the employee’s email account as quickly as possible in order to protect company data and to mitigate any emotional response—IT would typically confiscate computers while an employee was away from their desk receiving the bad news. When given the opportunity, however, employees often wrote their goodbyes in an effort to reframe the story of their departure as of their own volition.
The publication of Farewell! marks the 10-year anniversary of the stock market crash that began the Great Recession. Some of the economic loss has since been recovered, but many lives remain forever changed. These emails document the intimate, lived experience of this financial and personal crisis.