Meghan Moe Beitiks works with associations and disassociations of culture/nature/structure. She analyzes perceptions of ecology though the lenses of site, history, emotions, and her own body in order to produce work that analyzes relationships with the non-human. The work emerges as video, performance, installation, writing or photography depending on what arises from her process of research and improvisation. She received her BA in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied playwriting, acting, movement and scenic design. She has an MFA in Performance Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied Bio Art, Social Practice, Environmental Chemistry, and performance methodologies. She was a Fulbright Student Fellow, a recipient of the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists, and a MacDowell Colony fellow. She has taught performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and exhibited her work at the I-Park Environmental Art Biennale, Grace Exhibition Space in Brooklyn, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery in Chicago, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the House of Artists in Moscow, and other locations in California, Chicago, Australia and the UK.
Our engagement with the environment begins in our perception of it. As an artist, I research human perceptions of non-humans, and use those findings as prompts to create multi-dimensional work. The research often includes interviews with people, as well as academic, cultural and visual research. The work then becomes a space within which I remix and reexamine these understandings. I reach across disciplines, forms and media in order to create the relationships I seek in the work. It emerges as video, performance, installation, or some combination thereof. Research and impulse guide its ultimate realization. Throughout the process, I reflect on relationships with nature and the non-human, and explore how those relationships connect to environmental stewardship. I want my work to incorporate a self-reflexive dialogue with culture —how it is created, what meaning it produces, and how those meanings reflect on me and my own perceptions—in order to open up a greater dialogue. Ultimately I see my work as a series of exchanges of meaning, a reflection on relationships– with the goal of articulating connections between all entities.
My time at the Santa Fe Art Institute allowed me the opportunity to push the edges of my practice. I was privileged enough to rehearse in the Lumpkin Studio, a large space that afforded me the ability to move and experiment. SFAI staff were kind enough to connect me to local individuals invested in water issues, who were engaged with the Water Rights residency, local organizations, or both. In keeping with the greater structure of my project, “Systems of Pain/Networks of Resilience,” I interviewed several people and stitched audio clips from their interviews into a soundtrack and performance score. These local audio clips, which referenced the water management of the disrupted Santa Fe River, as well as perspectives on beavers, interspersed with clips from interviews from Illinois, New York and Nebraska, which referenced different processes of recovery. Using pinion pine logs/latillas, water from several points along the Santa Fe River, oranges, tablecloths, vases, mislabeled wallpaper and laser-cut branches, I created a short performance for a public presentation in the gallery. The piece sought to connect descriptions and experiences of pain, trauma and restoration across disciplines, sites, personal narratives, materials, and ecological processes. I was very grateful for my time at SFAI, and for the opportunity to learn more about this unique watershed.