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Encounters on the Frontier- Exhibit in Pakistan

The Internet is our "wild wild west" these days and the next frontier is our fear of intimacy.  Encounters on the Frontier is an evolving offline work between myself and Pakistani artist Mohsin Shafi.  We are planning our next exhibit in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015.

Last week I felt the hands of my friend and colleague Mohsin Shafi for the first time.  It has been more than three years since we met randomly online.

Over this time we have had many conversations in a range of media.  I painted portraits of him via Skype, we exchanged video responses to each other's work  and countless ideas and reflections through text messages and e-mails.

Now I sit here in the Zahoor-ul-Ikhlaq Gallery at the National College of Arts in Lahore and watch people engage with our work.  We have an installation in the center of the space, "The Game of Crustopoly."  Viewers can roll the dice to find out who they are in the game.  The variables are:  East, West, Jew, Muslim, Brother, Sister.  No one, thusfar has appeared offended by the results.  At the base of the installation are photos of our legs which have been covered wih dirt and twigs from our respective countries.  There are two horses, one is Mohsin's and another is mine.  There is the old fashion tin can phone system set up between the two sides.

I created a video in which I tore paper and leaves in response to Mohsin's video, "A Chorus of Hollow Souls."  In that video Mohsin searches for the right words for his Taweez  (amulet).   Upon Mohsin's request I brought six paintings of mine so that he could collage over them.  The results were exponential.

Viewers have been very interested in our collaboration.  Many are touched that an American would come to Pakistan to work on a collaborations with a Pakistani artist.  People have been moved by the emotional intensity of our work.  On one wall their are two video projections which depict both our hands tearing and manipulating paper or a dried plant in response to each other.

Mohsin brilliantly curates our work and doesn't let me get away with over stating things or limiting titles to simply what an art piece is. His visual mind is awesome.  

I have been on the edge of tears often as I experience people engaging with our work.  I am very grateful to Mohsin, the people here and to all of you.



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