Elizabeth Folk's creative practice is situated in interdisciplinary sculpture and time-based media with empathy and social justice as points of departure. She primarily explores issues of class, labor, gender, sexuality, communication, and revolution. Many of her works take the form of public interventions and guerrilla performances that invite audience participation, often using humor and play to stimulate discourse. Most recently, her research is focused on the resurgence of public shaming in social media and the resultant democratization of justice, Internet “takedown culture,” the discourse of controversy, as well as the Truth and Reconciliation movement and other modalities of conflict resolution applied to conflicts where much of the interface is social media. Folk is an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and teaches Time Based Media at UC Santa Barbara each summer.
Here's another way of putting it:
When I was ten I saw a dead guy on the side of the road on the way home from an Oriole's game. He flew through the windshield of a blue Toyota pick-up. Due to the accident we were stuck in unmoving traffic. As we approached the wreck, Jennifer Diling's dad said not to look. Our car sat next to the body for at least twenty minutes. The other kids in the car did not look. I am still looking.
Sometimes I cannot help but stare. I kept the pictures of my high school best friend. She is the sexiest person that I have ever met. I want to see more. I want to show you her mannerisms to make you want to look too. I want to create a point of departure and then hand it to you. I made this for you.
In a society where we spend much of our time in capsules traveling from capsule to capsule, I have realized that most of my art belongs somewhere between the capsules- a special delivery for you during your long day, should you choose to accept. These insertions into the everyday have taken the form of a mobile spa vending machine, a pirate waitressing performance, and unsolicited janitorial services with a twist, to name a few. In the spirit of stimulating community dialogue through play, my recent gallery work takes the form of large-scale interactive installation, games, collaborations with community members, workshops, and interactive performances. Each piece is designed to be accessible and interesting to a public without an art background, with layers that engage in conversation with contemporary art and art theory.
Here are some questions that I ask myself in consideration of my work:
Does it look like Art (if so, start over)? Is it interactive? Does it start a conversation? Is it accessible? Am I part of the problem or part of the solution? What are my motives? Is it courageous? Is it humorous? Is it honest? Is it innovative? Is it revolutionary? Do I hear the sound of it clicking into place?