Research Statement


Lee Walton, 2019


My art is a series of strategies for creating new experiences. Situations unfold and through participation, the work becomes a practice for embracing change. I often employ systems of chance as a method of circumventing power structures, fixed patterns, taste-based choices, and predictability. Playing the game and following the invented rules becomes a liberating experience for the participant.


My work has clear antecedents in Dada, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, and New Genre Performance Art. The early foundation of my art practice is rooted in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 2000’s, when the tech boom and participatory art practices were building momentum. My exploration of this intersection was integral to the development of Net Art and Social Practice.


Within the last five years, I have created works on paper, interactive installations, theater, music compositions, video documentary, printed publications, performance, public intervention, and social media web projects. I also collaborate across disciplines, working with actors, artists, technologists, activists, ecologists, writers, musicians, local businesses, curators, chess players, and communities.


I often create instructional scores that invite participation into the production of the work. These scores are intentionally designed to create active, not passive, participants. I facilitate and direct the process, while the open frameworks invite people to respond in their own ways, thus celebrating variation, diversity, and play.


The thread that connects all my work is an examination of what it means to be human in a digital, media-saturated society. As our relationships to one another become increasingly mediated through screens, our values, ethics, educational systems, and political positions become increasingly categorized.


Through my art, I question this physical/digital gap. For some work, I create experiences that are in direct contact with the physical world (drawing on paper, walking across a city, having an intimate interaction with another person) while in other works, media is used to mass-produce images or to intentionally distance the art experience(r) from the “real world”. In all cases, the work is consciously created with our digital environment in mind and explores the grey area between the artificial and the real.


As a practice, I hope my work can remind us what is real. To do this, I draw attention to the seemingly unspectacular. My art practice highlights the routine and habitual to rediscover the things we’ve forgotten how to see. I am invested in art as a daily practice that can heighten one’s awareness, a reminder to appreciate the aesthetics of everyday moments.


My art is radical pedagogy. As a facilitator, instigator, organizer, administrator, community member, and teacher, I challenge power structures and systems that oppress and isolate. I envision my art practice as a contribution to a team effort in which we author our own stories, produce our own meaning, and celebrate the things we ultimately value.