Adulting Invention Lab
As a multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, and social science researcher, I've spent over 20 years filling sketchbooks with stick-figure drawings, film scenes, research project ideas, and designs for fantastical inventions, all aimed at trying to solve the day-to-day problems I've encountered in trying to 'adult.' My artistic practice is centered around finding creative (and often ridiculous) solutions to the complexities of adulthood, from making friends and finding love, understanding death, and managing money, to solving persistent bad habits and other behavioral complexities we find ourselves in.
My journal entries served as a blueprint for what I envisioned as Sesame Street for grown-ups, complete with scientific and behavioral guidance for navigating life and a spiritual focus on seeking universal consciousness. As a researcher and educator sifting through academic and life science advice for a living, I found 'expert' advice to be frustratingly dull, disjointed, and often ineffective. I haven't found the answers yet but art and creativity is a daily solace and a better investigative lens for the questions that are in my heart.
In my mid-40s, I slowly began to turn away from academic dreams of publishing, presenting, and teaching (which never went far in the first place). I started making short films and connected with other DIY filmmakers in Nashville. I made two documentaries about two highly creative, independent, hilarious, and bold friends (Queen of Threads and Sassy) whom I deeply admire for their ability to successfully "adult," even as they admit they're still figuring things out.
Recently, I wrote and directed a film, Adult Life Lab, about a group of friends who create a secret lab to design inventions to help them with their adulting challenges. While the film focuses on inventing, the larger theme is how a group of creatively kind people can come together and learn to solve their deepest challenges through silly yet effective inventions, leading to feelings of transcendence.
As I continue to film, I still keep a journal, seeing it as my own adulting invention lab. It's a place where I can safely dream up a world I want to live in and experiment with creative solutions to everyday challenges. With every new project, my vision evolves, but the journal remains a constant source of inspiration and innovation.