Jasmine Baetz

I intend to build an installation as a site for a performance based on my own personal and historical connections with water. I’ve come to think of my installations as stage sets or sites for conversation. I will merge my own ideas around water with interactions had with other participants, and observation of the culture and environment of Pico Island.

Some things that I think about when I think of water: my family is Zoroastrian, and along with fire, water is considered an important ceremonial and ritual material for the purification of our selves and the earth. The symbolism and centrality of water and fire are ongoing themes in my work. The historical migration/heightened myth of the Zoroastrian diaspora from ancient Persia to the west coast of India in the 7th century pushes this interest further. My family tells a story passed down for centuries of the faithful Zoroastrians caught in a storm, on their way to seek refuge in India. They pray to God and are delivered safely. The resonance of this story and the fear of and perceived triumph over water, I think, are huge factors in my family’s collective psychology. In my mother’s recurring nightmare, she drowns. Even when we’ve made it to shore, the memory of the water is present. When I was two months old, my parents went with me in tow to Portugal, and I consider this an important part of my own narrative. My parents chased the magic of water with a seaside vacation with their newborn child, and my small body made its first passage “overseas.” It will be amazing to return to Portugal as an adult to work through my ideas about movement of bodies, borders, and water.

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Jasmine Baetz is a ceramics student and teacher. She’s made things out of clay from a young age, and it remains her primary tool for making sense of the world. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from the University of Toronto and a diploma in Fine Arts from Langara College in Vancouver. Presently she attends Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, and will graduate with a BFA in Ceramics in 2017. The materiality and recyclability of clay makes is well suited for her methods of building: addition, experimentation, and revision. Her work includes clay objects that are fired, unfired, on pedestals, underground, underwater, joined with other materials in installation, and implemented in ritual or performance. Using her place in a materially-based craft discipline and community, she seeks to illuminate the systemic problems within it that create and perpetuate colonial and misogynistic assumptions, discourses, and objects. She defines her work, practice, and teaching against these tendencies, and uses clay to investigate history, repetition, belief, and identity. She is wary of tradition. In clay, as with her studies in religion, she investigates herself, her mother, and her ancestors. Right now Jasmine lives in the United States. She comes from Canada, Germany, India, and ancient Persia.

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