Cock Fucking Shit Head!
Or, “Clean, Flux, Solder, and Heat”: the order of operations for joining metals. In this process of metalworking, flux is indispensable as a chemical agent that prevents funk and oxidation—though it should not be thought of as an antioxidant, like, you know, blueberries. You wouldn’t want to ingest flux: it is highly corrosive, and it can actually cause a bit of drama in your joinery if it’s used improperly, or without precision and purpose. But as a mediating material between a metal surface and solder, flux facilitates amalgamation, and it generally makes for better transitions in a state of heat and flow. Unsurprisingly, there are different kinds of flux for different base metals and solders. Sometimes I think of flux in the same way I think of a primer for paint, or even a pregnant pause: a useful vehicle that makes getting from point A to point B way smoother. Like many things in the space of making, it’s easy to nerd out on specifics of the material (rosin versus water-based, paste versus liquid, etc.), but my interests lie more in the flowy part of flux, which brings an opportunity to define it here. Here’s the first entry from the American Heritage Dictionary,
Flux (n.) a. A flow or flowing of a liquid.
b. The flowing in of the tide.
c. A continuing movement, especially in large numbers of things: a flux of sensation.
FLUX AS FLOW: To be in flux is to be alive. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you are alive and therefore in some state of flux.
My multi-disciplinary art practice has consistently orbited around broader notions of flux, fluidity, transitional moments, liminality, and nuance. These days, this mostly manifests in conceptual still life and assemblage, but has included site-specific installation and community based projects, always with a bent towards psychogeography and intimate auto/biographical references.
FLOWING IN, FLOWING OUT: Spring 2022. R*ssia’s racist, imperialist, and genocidal war in Ukraine has put me in a state of flux, where abnormal physiological responses have become a daily testament to the extreme trauma of the onslaught that my family is enduring thousands of miles away. Hives, migraines, PTSD, and anxiety are all in the mix. It feels continuous, undulating. Performing polite normativity is now expected, as the sensationalist window of this brutality has surpassed the bracketing window of our calibrated-for-social-media attention spans. Plus, deadlines need to be met, bills need to be paid, and life goes on (for others). As a Ukrainian born in the diaspora, I’ve always had to straddle two worlds, never quite fitting fully into either. Extensive travel to the Soviet Union/Ukraine provided a wealth of contrasting experiences to a life situated in a community of political dissidents and refugees in the New York area. The dichotomous iconographies of this point-counterpoint upbringing informed my sensibilities as an artist, for which I am grateful. But since February, I’ve been adrift. Dislodged. Bereft. Flowing in another mode, far from a more desirable flow state.
FLUX AS FLEX: And yet. Just like the compound used in soldering, the reinforcing bond of community has shown itself to be the most supportive mechanism for moving through this. We evolve, we flow. We find solace and support in our constellations of chosen family and friends.
For this reason, I invited a cross section of influences—mentors, friends, colleagues, and former students—to help me ruminate on the idea of flux. Each of these contributors is magical, bringing me joy and inspiration in some way. I am grateful to you all for being in my life’s orbit: Nayland Blake, David Brooks, William Cordova, Christian Hincapié, Fawn Krieger, Rin Johnson, Michael Joo, Zoe Leonard, Joiri Minaya, Louis Osmosis, Elizabeth Shannon, and Sam Vernon.