Katie Clark

Final Project Statement

Using various images of memory, I want to have a conversation about the intricate process of making the intimate public and an intimate-public.

How must an artist hold the intimate public they create, and how is that public expected to hold the intimacy of it? Can a person own a certain arrangement of words? What is at stake when an artist creates a body of words describing their own experience?

In the center of the room hangs a bed-sheet suspended a few inches off the ground. Lit up from within, the tent suggests a place of intended privacy. From within the sheet, a person will read aloud from a suite of poems concerning different aspects of intimacy: girlhood, trauma, sensuality, and joy.

Behind this, on the wall, is a handwritten code for software that generates new poems from the word-material of the aforementioned poems. On another, the poems the words were drawn from are hung, and on the third wall hangs thirty-two of these randomly generated poems. Collaboration actively occurs between viewer, performer, software, and writer– which is only possible through the destruction of the intimate and individual experience of the original process of writing.

In each aspect of the installation, an individual, personal experience is interrupted for the sake of a public, intimate one.

Acknowledgements: Lauren Berlant, Jeff Shapiro, Thalia Brown, and Rachel Richards

Artist’s Statement

As a creator who works primarily with language, and with the English language at that, I am constantly trying to step both into and around words. I work mainly with poetry and short fiction, but I’m beginning to explore the potential of multi-media work as the solution to some accessibility barriers.

I do not want to make a blank canvas, but I do want to leave room for essence, for silence, for Affect, to as Maggie Nelson has said, “make a space for God to rush in.” I believe that the value of a poem is what you ask it to communicate; impure as the meanings may be by the time they make it out. I think that the personal and particular way we each mess through the inexpressible (which is maybe, everything) is the point.

I am interested in the way cognition meets recognition. I think both pieces are important. I care about the way we hold experiences, and how that holding changes as we bring more of our lives into them.

I work a lot with time, particularly with the complexities of experiencing time in othered bodies: the recontextualization of one’s position as a body affected by other bodies, the split narrative of reasons for and recovery after, and the romanticization of the ideal trauma narrative (one emerges better for it, changed, improved) as an overlay of actual individual experience. I care about the queerness of this, and everything. Every poem I write I owe to theory and pop music, both.


Art is…..

The best philosophy on art I’ve ever heard came from a mentor of mine, Martín Espada, who said poetry should communicate. If you’re not doing that, what’s the point?

I started writing poems on the floor of my grandmother’s basement in Detroit, Michigan when I was about eight or nine years old. I can remember it clearly: me and a copy of The American Girl’s Guide to Boy’s, a pack of Chili Cheese Fritos, and an iPod shuffle set to endlessly repeat “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers. For the life of me, I cannot remember the poem I wrote there. I do, however, remember desperately wanting to be able to do what Brandon Flowers did on that track– to create a space of gathering, of catharsis, of passing an experience to another person and saying take, hold, there’s something of this for you.

Do I consider “Mr. Brightside” one of the greatest poetic works of our time? That may be an unrelated question. Do I consider pop music to be an incredible site for shared experience? Absolutely. Is CRJ’s “Boy Problems” art? I think there’s less at stake in saying yes than there is in saying no.

My question to myself whenever I am trying to figure out whether or not something is art is always “are they trying to tell me something?” If yes, let’s talk.


Mid-Term Project: Sources

materials: webcam, wheat-paste, ink, paper, plywood, life partners

over the last few weeks, i’ve been considering affect and performances of intimacy, how we code and respond to language based on what we want to communicate.

for this project i wanted to make a video installation where people whom i’ve written poems about read a poem of mine aloud over a webcam. each person was given access to a shared online folder. the directions were simple: choose a poem, read it into a webcam. the videos were then projected over a screen composed of the source material for each individual poem.

the aim of the project was to dismantle the clear lines between subject and object, and to create a sort of poem sculpture out of the materials the poems involved were already made out of.

Luoghi di Fuga: Notebook Project:

Intro Unit Project: Multi-sensory Materiality

Intro Unit Project:   Tempo Zulu

My proposal for the Temple Zulu project is simple: a little bit of intentional art where there is already incidental art. I chose Orto Dei Tolomei as my proposal site for a few reasons. It was the first place I went to in Siena, and I was really interested in the art already present in the space in the form of “graffiti” on the tables. The different marks– the colors, the images, the words, and the languages– in this space occur in conversation with each other, and with place, and with time. My piece would not replace, but would be worked into the environment by using the already present picnic table-tops and the gazebo as sites. In this way, my words would take on the same anonymity. They would cease to be mine and would instead become as public as the space they’re in.


Intro Unit: Points of Entry Project:

Katie approaches the gate. Someone takes an image of Katie standing at the gate. Katie has experienced this moment in time, as has the photographer. Katie sends the photograph.

Now, we have moved. The recipients of the photograph are not interacting with the gate, but with a photograph of the gate. What is this then? This photograph is definitively not the Porta Laterina. And yet– there it is. So this is a reproduction, a simulacrum, an object. What is at stake here? The interaction thus subverts itself, the experiencer becomes the creator and the original text ceases to exist, replaced by something else entirely. We have objectified a moment and a person in time. The photograph, posing as a simulation of the original, has now taken on the contexts of both experiencer and the original. This new text is not only what is included in the image but also what is excluded. And what is missing from our original interaction goes on anyway: the gate, my body, etc.


Katie Clark, USA

Bio statement: 

Hey there– I’m Katie Clark, and I go to Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. I primarily work with poetry and short fiction, and with the topics of violence, gender, and the southeastern United States. My first collection, our own soft, was released in August by Nostrovia! Press.
I work a lot with time, particularly with the complexities of experiencing time in othered bodies: the recontextualization of one’s position as a body affected by other bodies, the split narrative of reasons for and recovery after, and the romanticization of the ideal survivor narrative (one emerges better for it, changed, improved) as an overlay of actual individual experience.
This all said, I also think it’s important for art to be fluid and fun and simple, too. I’m really excited to pick up new things here and to work with these people!