I have studied film and video at the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver where I received my BFA. The main component of my career has involved DIY videos, often made with budgets under $200 and self produced. My career has taken me around the world, and my most controversial video, “Untouchable” is currently in the Outfest legacy collection at UCLA. More recent work has tackled the taboo subject of mental illness, in particular my own experiences with depression, which was then diagnosed bipolar disorder. My first video mentor, Maureen Bradley, has encouraged me to continue in this vein in order to disrupt the current view of persons with psychiatric disabilities as mediated in contemporary mainstream media. As a consumer of psychiatric medications, I was in particular influenced by Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto to create my latest work, “Madness in Four Actions” which is a video collage of clips from The Miracle Worker transposed with text from various leading psychiatric activists and revolutionaries including R.D. Laing and text from “Mad in America: Bad Medicine, Bad Science, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill.” During my last hospitalization I snuck my DVD copy of this video onto the ward only to be censored by the nursing staff who told me not to lend it or promise it out, even though it already premiered at the Mendel Art Gallery on January 17, 2007. My work is strongly influenced by the hope that people, even psychiatric cyborgs, should have the ability to make decisions concerning their own lives. The censorship of a film made by and for persons with psychiatric disabilities just goes to show that there are still societal taboos which must and can be shattered with media interventions.
Currently my practice has expanded to group performance art projects, “Urban NDN Interventions” is a new branch of work, which gathers First Nations artists and our allies to engage the public in peaceful confrontations with High Class actions. The first event, The Treaty Ascot, takes place at Marquis Downs in late summer where we will be crashing the horse track in fancy hats and tuxedos