In the US, across racial lines, around 24 million or 1 out of 3 children live without their biological fathers in the home, and the number of fathers who are absent in one or more of their children’s lives has tripled in only the span of 50 years. The debate surrounding the causality of fatherlessness falling always between unwed birth, divorce, economic status, and a shift away from a patriarchal standards, does not often leave room for understanding individual experience.
The artistic project, He was; I am, primarily looks at how growing up with an absent father effects individual identities, often shaped as much by that absence as by our society’s nuclear family hegemony. I have never met my own father and when I sought him out at the age of 19 he made it clear he had no intention of being any part of my life. This event, while devastating at the time, eventually healed. What felt like a cataclysmic void left an undeniable scar on my life and who I became, while also deeply affecting my conception of family and my mothers life.
I aim to explore both individual struggle and to challenge the anachronous constructions of family values that systematically disparages children of absent fathers, single motherhood, and creates negative self-fulfilling prophecies about the idea of father presence in family structures. While deeply personal, this work is intended to connect people with shared histories of imperfect people within imperfect families, to unpack the weight of absence, and challenge the limiting narratives that haunt the children of absent fathers.
This project is being produced with support from the Madison Arts Commission and Overture Center for the Arts.
Absent Fathers Project; I am
Just A Toy
This is Bike Polo Vol 1
Towards the end 2011, I started playing bike polo after graduating from college in the midwest. During that time, I was seeking refuge within a social community, coincidently bike polo presented itself to me like an oasis in the desert. My story is not unique amongst those who have chosen to be a part of this sport. Relatively small and obscure still, there are few communities that allow for as much individual ownership as bike polo. The rules are generated by the community, tournaments are structured by clubs, there is always an available couch for travel; therefore, staying consistent within your polo community, eventually you will be acquainted with almost every player in the game.