katherine behar
katherine behar: this.construction();
art: Distance Learning
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A large cone, completely covered in frilly, white flowers, drifts around on a green mat. Two pairs of blue hands occasionally emerge from its ruffles and, as the cone progresses back and forth, the hands deposit small objects on the floor. Soon, a miniature landscape has been constructed, defined and populated by cryptic combinations of chopsticks, spatulas, feathery palm fronds, printed paper napkins, green streamers, wooden wine racks, and blobs of orange play-dough. Audience members come and go, checking in on the progress of the construction that is underway. Eventually, the cone works its way into a corner and can't go any further. It blows bubbles from between its flowers.


Learning THROUGH distance.
Learning to BRIDGE distance.

This performance installation was inspired by a child's rug printed with an illustrated map of a town. In the process of playing on the map carpet, children learn to navigate the relationships and connections between its marked points, and between its surface and the surfaces of the natural world and of the gendered domestic environments in which they live. In the performance, I lay out an abstract map that becomes a ground for my own imaginary play.

I relate the kind of abstraction we use when mapping a place to the abstraction that characterizes our relationship with nature. In order to map a place, we need to put some distance between ourselves and it. Similarly, in order to comprehend Nature, we idealize it, distancing ourselves. In both cases, using distance, we form an idealized picture of something as a means of understanding it.