"I approach my creative practice improvisationally with a sense of play, collaboration, and slight chaos. I layer fragments of diverse media including dance, video, improvisation, and found footage to experiment with perception and our experience of the world. My work is different each time it is interacted with, moving from the personal to the universal and allowing these investigations to linger.
I am also a Disabled person. I facilitate and program creative, collaborative experiences that practice radical accessibility. I view radical accessibility as an active practice that transforms an environment or process based on the needs of the people."
LSDC: How have the social shifts of 2020 impacted your life as an artist?
SB: How has it not? We are always changing, but this past year has ushered in immeasurable transformation for all of us. The way I physically practice and collaborate has changed and I lost all my jobs prior to the pandemic. But these are small changes. We have experienced so much loss and so much negligence. There are so many dire issues to resolve together. I am trying to understand how we all can get out of what feels like a knot refusing to let loose. I think it will take time to understand the impression 2020 has left. But I do hope that this social unrest will lead to tangible changes in our economic and political structure that make access to resources equitable. Our lives literally depend on it.
LSDC: Have you produced any new work, live or digital?
SB: This past year has made me feel frantic and numb. Because of this I have been attracted to slowing down to support long-term creative and political practices. This led me to co-found Hook&Loop, an artist collective led by people across the Disabled spectrum that makes radically accessible (extremely fun) spaces and creative practices.
Regardless of my frantic numbness, I still find myself showing work and sharing space digitally, experimenting with digital programming (sometimes through Window Room, a physical studio space-turned-virtual-portal) and engaging with the various programs and experiments floating in the digital dimension.
LSDC: How has the broad emergence of this digital realm influenced your creativity/artistic work?
SB: Overstimulated. It’s exciting and very overwhelming to see so much stuff, to know so much stuff is out there, to scroll through so much stuff. So much stuff. Everything is online. You are online reading this right now. Everyone is forced to become a video artist. It's a lot to take in.
I make films and use video in my work often because it is a natural way for me to explore, reflect and understand the world. Right now, I am so full with digital information and starved of physical connection that I need time to digest the content being made to understand what it all means.
LSDC: How would you describe yourself as an artist, and/or your work, as we step into the year of 2021?
SB: I want to help make more space together for us to explore and create from the variety of ways we experience and relate to the world. I do not know what the world will look like as we move through this year but I plan to change and evolve with it and work together to make the world more compassionate.
LSDC: How have you maintained balance and regularity in this time? What does your daily/artistic regimen look like?
SB: With great difficulty! I am often off balance. Living is HARD - particularly during a global pandemic and under a capitalist economy that forces us to compete with each other for resources. I find myself spending a lot of energy trying to be balanced and to have a disciplined art practice. But it is hard. And in such a competitive world I feel alone and at fault for being so off balance. So I start wishing…
I wish I was a morning person. I wish it was easier to feel my feelings. Wish to say just the right thing. Wish to eat more. Wish for the right diagnosis. Wish it was easier for me to elequently answer all these questions. And most times I am wishing to be something I am not and will never be! And blaming myself for not being what I am not! And this list can go on and on unless I stop (!) and practice asking myself what I truly need and want right now and then try to support myself fulfilling those needs. In other words, I practice reshaping what “balance” means to honestly reflect my needs and wants at any given time - which (and I think and hope this is true for most people) includes the wellbeing of others and globe.
All this may be best summed up in a song written by a close friend:
“..you can apply significance but when you just tack it on like that, you forget your interest, and instead checklists become the priority like extra underwear in january or one of those months... “
snow iii, nine of swords, lyrics by Rachel Gordon
SHANNON in Motion
Shannon Brooks' original virtual work, "I AM MY OWN SHOES"