Kate Clark

Grotto Rub
Kate Clark
Weimar, Germany (2013)

Description by curator Lilia Kudelia, Adjunct Curator at Dallas Contemporary Museum: Kate Clark’s video “Grotto Rub” evolves around the concept of ritualization of the cultural landscape. She explores how material can be related to the spirit and how the soul can be born out of flesh or even a dead stone. Clark delves into the absurdity of human desires, which can be stimulated by even such a banal thing as a public sculpture.

Border Rub
Kate Clark
Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry: San Ysidro/Tijuana Border
September 20, 2013, 11:30am–12:30 pm
Videography: Ren Ebel, Angelica Decima
Sound, Editing: Kate Clark

Dressed as a forensic scientist, I took a litho crayon rubbing of the Great Seal of the United States of America in the port of entry to the world’s largest border. Briefly transforming the unnoticed space into a zone of archaeology, this simple gesture required months of organizing with customs officials. Ultimately, Angelica Decima, the border guard and public relations coordinator became my collaborator, manning the camera and assisting me with materials. Ostensibly I was given permission to document and loiter in the border for my “historic” project, but in reality, the project also granted me the opportunity to document the port of entry from a human scale, a site that to my knowledge has only been recorded by national security cameras and cell phones. The project now lives in the form of the rubbings, the video, and in the memories of the people who encountered the event.

Switching between the roles of the absurdist, the documentarian, and the sensualist, Kate Clark re-imagines ways cultural,historical, and architectural landscapes are predominantly managed, ritualized, and interpreted. In the name of the archaeology of the everyday, Clark facilitates performances, neighborhood projects, large-scale public events, and short stories. Whether it be a canyon, an alleyway, or a border, Clark’s work begins simply as a hunch- which guides collaborations with specialists as wide ranging as park rangers, border agents, priests, construction workers, historic interpreters, anthropologists, and the public at large.

Kate Clark is co-founder of Living Archives, a UC San Diego Humanities Research Group, and has served as a research fellow at Provisions Library for Arts and Social Change and as an interpretive guide and visiting artist at the Hirshhorn Museum and sculpture garden. Originally from the Puget Sound of Washington State, She received her Bachelor’s of Arts at the Evergreen State College and is currently pursuing her MFA at UC San Diego. She has worked on projects with galleries, museums, nonprofits, parks, schools, and research libraries in Mexico, Europe, Japan, and the United States.


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