Emma Hill

Artist Statement

I grew up in a community and family prone to tension. How people around me and I coped with this environment is the subject of my work. The medium of performance is in itself a release for me. I believe performance art is only made stronger when the performer is honest in their reactions to their environment, struggles, and emotions. It is a way to use my weaknesses to my advantage. Through these pieces I hope to showcase my own processes used when confronted with external or personal struggles in order to connect and inspire people to face their own.

Manifesto to Nostalgia 

I made the decision to place a fallen branch, thin and wispy, like my Grandmother’s carcass atop my shelf.

And I make the decision to spend my sull Saturday afternoons with it and to go to it when my body is lagging and my mind is lapping.

The blue light reflecting off the snow bathes it in a special glow and it coos to me sympathy, and warms my spirit in an earthly way. Reminding me to be humble and content.

Content.

I am not content with not being remembered after my death.

Most people are not and it is a natural kind of vain that drives us all the way to draw our names on paper. And print our names on parchment. And drag our names across an agreement. And fire our names in copper. And engrave our names in slate.
But what you people do not understand is that your ink will run dry and your metal will deteriorate and your body will disintegrate. And nothing will be left of you.

The kind of people I remember are the people like my grandmother. She reserved Sunday’s from 12-4 for steeping herself in melancholy. I remember her peeling orange rinds in twirls and wetting the tip of her nose in coffee because she almost forgot her cup was not the lake. Listening to her own hummmmming as she gardened her roses and only growwwwwing roses because her name was Rose. She taught me how to play Rummy, give a fifteen percent tip, wash dishes by hand, fill the birdbath, and pretend to remember someone when they remembered me.  She kept a list of every boy she had ever had a crush on and in her will gave everything back to whomever had given it to her. I received a ceramic cat and a wooden jewelry box I do not remember giving her.

And that is why I remember her.

She did not destroy anything or win anything or create anything or sign anything. She just was. The fallen tree branch just was. Their beauty came from their just was and that is enough for them to be remembered in this world.

I believe there are three deaths in life: the first is when we realize we are going to die, the second is when we do, and the third is when our name slips from someone’s lips for the last time.

I proclaim that we should all make the decision to take the first and last moments of our days, like prayer, to say the names of those we’ve lost. If we do this and others do for us too, then the pressure to leave our mark is gone. Let’s join together and make the decision to spend Saturday afternoons with silence and remembrance. Let’s make the choice to begin a movement of nostalgia that will cease an epidemic of evil.

Rose Potraffke.

Fallen Tree Branch.