For a few years, I’ve been using micro-photography in a couple of ways. One way is as an investigative tool—photographing areas in Bangkok that regularly flood and which are getting worse due to climate change. Another is as part of political performances.
Trying to find the softest sand to bury my head in… was a performance that was live streamed to the US. It was both in response to US politics and my growing interest in science-related art. When I made the proposal, the US had just elected Trump; when I performed it, April 1st, I was hoping we were going to find out it was a bad prank. I was overwhelmed from all the terrible things that had already started happening. Even living in Dubai, I was calling my senators and congressional representatives regularly. I just wanted to bury my head and pretend that this wasn’t happening.
As for the method of my performance, I used a microscope with a camera attached. This and the webcam video were live-streamed to the Inverse Performance Art Festival in Arkansas. During the performance, which was right after sunrise in Dubai and nighttime in Arkansas, I collected sand from various locations with cellophane tape and put them under the microscope to find the softest sand. When not finding the softest sand, I used a rotary tool (Dremel) to create my own sand from rocks. All these specimens were logged and placed in a research notebook.
I never found the softest sand, I didn’t bury my head, I kept calling my representative (who I’m proud to say is a Muslim-American), I kept hoping that the national (and international) nightmare is over before too much damage is done.
For the piece, Trying to find the cleanest water to wash my hands of all this…, I went around the town of Olafsfjordur, Iceland where I was in residence at Listhus in summer of 2018. I collected water and put it under a microscope and shot photos and videos. The water was never clean enough so I kept calling those representatives and senators.