My art practice is based on three main subjects: otherizing categorizations such as those of dirtiness and madness; the body as a literal and archive; the sociopolitical impact of personal narrative and autobiographical artist representations as forms of radical action against the dominant social memory. Through the creation of multidisciplinary gesture I actively engage these theoretical standpoints and present them using the affective qualities of body-based artworks.
I am actively seeking to represent the history of mistreatment within various systems of otherization including the internalized self-perpetuation of these systems. These systems exist within institutions such as the medical, educational and sociopolitical systems. Through art and social experimentation I wish to examine the problematic belief systems that arise from attempts to fix the other. Furthermore, I wish to perform these histories; giving them physical representation as a form of evidence. It is through an accounting of these actions that we can begin to ask: What actions are we taking today that tomorrow will be seen as maltreatment?
When making my work I display my body archive. Through often based on my personal body as an inscriber of gestures, my art is not there to reflect myself. It is there to proliferate the affect formed by and in the viewer. My artworks are not truly created in the objects, installations, and performances I make, but rather they are actualized in the moment they reach the viewer. Using my body as an archival source; it's memories, scars and histories are reenacted in hopes to pass that information corporally.
Both in my art and in my life, I am passionate about civic engagement. I believe the presentation of art that seeks to provide alternative histories is a radical act. It is through the presentation of alternative fragments, sourced from our own personal archives, that the underrepresented can submit their stores the larger sociopolitical memory. Although I believe it is an overstatement to suggest an artist can change the world, I think an artist can be there when the world is about to change and assist in the cultivation of transformative dialogues.
- Autumn Hays