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Steve Wanna

Mount Rainier, MD

"I’m an experimental, abstract artist working across various media including sculpture, sound, video, and ​mixed-media and multi-sensory installations. My work blurs the lines between form and process, ideas and material, genre and experience, artist and perceiver."
I was born in a small border town in Lebanon at the start of a long civil war. Soon occupied, we were thrust into a world of non-belonging, rife with uncertainty and mistrust on all sides, a world of endless borders and checkpoints. I spent my childhood and teen years crossing local, national and international borders. It was often dehumanizing and always tinged with the threat of mortal danger—humans can become quite cruel in their misguided efforts to protect borders that, despite the stories we tell ourselves, are ultimately arbitrary. For me, borders signify human suffering and indignity, as do all the boundaries we manufacture to separate ourselves from others, personal borders we leverage as tools of oppression and hate.

​Despite all the uncertainty and daily loss and destruction I grew up with, life had to go on somehow. There was a cultural and experiential understanding of what could and could not be controlled. My art is born of experimentation and innovation, and is my attempt to erase borders and boundaries, whether in form, genre, or material, and to create some measure of order while embracing chaos and the potential beauty and joy that can paradoxically emerge from it. My approach, which is informed by the phenomenon of emergence as defined in systems theory and Buddhism, can be described as contained chaos—I create frameworks that allow processes to unfold autonomously and give rise to unplanned forms and systems. I make a clear distinction between chaos and disorder, and between containing and controlling chaos.

My formal training is in music composition and sound design, which has greatly influenced my visual practice. I create mixed media works and immersive, experiential, multisensory installations that transform spaces and create complete environments that transport the experiencer.

All borders are arbitrary.
Wescover creator since 2020

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