In “Ghosts of Venice” we are privy to the inner thoughts of Gil, a man living in Venice Beach. He starts his day trying to mend his relationship with his girlfriend after fighting the night before. Gil has two powerful forces acting within him: his analytical/logical thought system, and his irrational impulses. Gil tries to understand the dynamics of what makes himself and others happy, while ironically causing his own pain. The story asks these fundamental questions: Who are we? Do we choose our identities or are they chosen for us? And, do we get to choose what we want?
“The Ones Who are Left Behind: An Armenian Story” details the close relationship the author had with her great aunt (who witnessed the murder of her family), the author’s search for identity, and a reckoning with a brutal collective past. The essay explores how trauma can travel through generations as the author self-reflects on her struggle to harness her emotions to get better, not bitter. Nestled within this personal essay, there is a universal message of hope and healing from suffering and loss.
“Clean Kitchen” addresses the issues of elder abuse and the devastating effects dementia has on relationships.
The question of “why do we protest”? is easy to answer. When and how we protest are more complicated questions with blurred lines and no easy answers. What are the results from lines crossed or limits reached? How does the severity of the injustice relate to the medium of revolt? In these works, the artist investigates the methods of loud and quiet violence that are the result of public and private suffering. He takes a look at the scene without context, so we may ask “what emotions bring individuals to this point and how do we react upon seeing it expressed”?
The following personal history piece focuses on the author’s journey in the mental healthcare system, through both psychiatry and psychotherapy. It also deals with how stigmatizing and detrimental the system (and the world) can be to those with mental illnesses. This memoir-style essay tells the story of the author’s illness like it’s the big bad wolf, and walks the reader with her on the journey to coping with it. It’s a piece that not only talks about the author’s individual reality, but also the greater reality of the world of psychology, psychiatry, and mental illness.
Once, I was trying to reach some sort of comfort in a rush, so I took a shortcut through a city dump but was struck helpless when confronted by hunger. And I must confess that among those landscapes of trash, I secretly wished that hunger were loud and contagious, like some disease that we are not allowed to ignore.
What are your relationships with food and hunger like?
Written during a trip to London with my husband, this piece documents a pivotal and transformation period of time where I began to rediscover a sense of self by letting go of self. A candid journey inward, questioning what it means to be human, to be a father, to be a gay man, but most importantly to be authentic.
The following photo series revolves around the act of picking and giving flowers in the time of a pandemic. Romance, decorum, and aesthetics are all shifted in the health crisis.
Over time, humans have developed more and more complex tools to make life easier and to reduce work for the human. To some, this is exciting. To others, it is insidious. Are we making tools that are making us less human? Will our tools one day replace us? What will our future look like, and how will robotics impact the human condition?
For a nine-year-old girl, it was incomprehensible to watch her father gather all his books to take them out of town to burn them secretly. Worried about her father being arrested by the new regime in Iran in 1981, young Shabnam had to let go of the books she had planned to learn from, one day when she grew up.