Portfolio > Net Worth

Conceptual Background

This piece was conceptualized during 2018 when
the family separation policy was implemented,
which separated children from their asylum seeking
parents. Over 5,400 children, including infants,
were separated from their families throughout
the southern border.

On October 21, 2020 The New York Times published
a report showing that 545 parents could
not be located to return their children.

Historical Context

During the colonial project, hammocks were seen
by Europeans as symbols of unproductive laziness.
Soraya Serra-Collazo, of the University of Puerto
Rico, documented the strange journey of the
hammock in a 2014 paper in Textile Society of
America Symposium Proceedings. “During the
18th century,” she wrote, “hammock use has
been reported by Spanish officials and the clergy
as means to claim the laziness of local people.”
Alexander O’Reilly, an Irishman sent to Puerto
Rico by King Charles III of Spain, was one of
many prominent Europeans to brand the Taíno as
lazy. He complained, upon his 1765 trip to Puerto
Rico, that the land was simply too abundant, the
climate too nice. “With only five days of work,”
he wrote, “a family had enough plantains for the
whole year.”

The hammock was specifically singled
out as a symbol of the laziness of the people
of Puerto Rico: Nothing this comfortable and
un-European could possibly be acceptable.
The production of hammocks is an ubiquitous cultural
practice throughout Latin America.

Proposal

With the above in mind, I began my research.
Currently, the city of Merida, in the Yucatan peninsula,
is a major production center of hammocks
in Mexico.

After visiting several small villages around Merida
in 2019, I connected with a small “living room
factory” in the village of Tixkokob. I worked with
this community to develop an unconventionally
large set of 5 hammocks. They are 19 meters
long each, or 63 ft. I envision them installed on
30ft flag poles placed side by side as seen on
the graphic rendition.

Size: 19 meters or 30 ft long
Color: various
Material: Nylon hammock, ropes on flag poles
Edition of 6

Part of my practice is concerned with semiotic
processes that affect the perception of the symbol
in visual representation.

In the case of Net Worth, hoisting the hammocks
up like a flag allows for this pre-colombian symbol
to gain prominence and status while reflecting
about distortions created in the last four
hundred years of visual representation.

My intention is to create a restorative space for
contemplative action and inaction, collectively
and individually.

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Multiple images showing details of materials
2021
Hammock detail blue
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Hammock detail purple
2021