11/11—a set of numbers that often signifies synchronicity and spiritual alignment. These numbers, however, also spell out the date of the most traumatic event of my life. On the eleventh of November (11/11) 2012, my grandmother was suddenly killed in an accident. Two cars collided in the night, the oncoming car driven by a drunk, off-duty state trooper who lost control of the vehicle. In an instant, two stranger’s lives were gone and the lives of their families were changed forever.
My twelve year old body absorbed that trauma and fear. The initial symptoms were paranoia—of long trips in the car and of being alone. I found myself haunted by mirrors and closed doors, afraid of sudden visions of and visits from the dead—not just my grandmother, but also the state trooper who had, perhaps unintentionally, murdered and been murdered in the process: a simultaneous homicide and suicide.
Several years later, I found the Instagram account of the drunk driver who was responsible for my grandmother’s death. Photos of him getting drunk on a plane. The monotonous landscape of upstate New York taken while driving. Kickboxing, dogs, tattoos, and shirtless selfies. How can a stranger cause so much pain and destruction, while also remaining an enigma? How can a pixelated photo carry so much weight? How do we reconcile autonomy with anonymity in horrific events that forever bind the perpetrator and the victim(s)?
11/11 is a multimedia sculpture that mostly uses found materials (car door siding, metal scraps, shared images) to represent the physical aspects of death and destruction. The pixelated images, sourced from the Instagram of a man I’ve never met and never will meet, illustrate the detached nature of this incident, namely the uncanny unification of two strangers through destruction and death—an “accident” driven by carelessness, negligence, and irresponsibility. Through this combination of photos and materials, I hope to confront the trauma of sudden, seemingly random loss—fear of the unknown and of apparitions. Finally, this sculpture is inspired by the structure of the heart: a complex and powerful organ of interconnected muscles and valves that drives life but ultimately pulls the breaks on it.