Allen Conkle received a BA in theatre visual performance from Columbia College in 2000 and later earned an MA in performance studies from San Francisco State University. He worked with the critically acclaimed Nomenil Collectiv in Chicago writing and directing 12 original performance pieces and plays. He has had several publications of academic articles and fiction. As a survivor of multiple sexual traumas, he interrogates and complicates the infallibility of memory as a means of resolution of the immersive aesthetics of complex PTSD and mental illness in his current work. He has studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and is currently pursuing an MFA at SAIC.    

Personal Statement

I create hybrid performance installation(s) which generate conversations about artifacts, sculpture, photography, performance, and performative written work. Juxtaposing methodologies demonstrates the promise inherent in creating spaces that disrupt, disturb, disorient, and create liminal cross-currents. Within these chaotic praxes, possibilities are budding. How do we reveal the futile nature of memory? How do we demonstrate the unintelligible, the grotesque, seductive, horrific, the untouchable, the personal, the tragic, the celebratory? I engage in the theoretical and aesthetic investigations and experiments in flirtation with triggers. I respond by creating visual performance works that explicate, demonstrate, and complicate these questions, concepts, and vice versa. I utilize ethnography, auto-ethnography and storytelling to connect the theoretical tissue of my embodied practice. I use choreographed gestures, subject/object relations, and impossible performances as a means of interrogating limits of body, spatial, and emotional perceptions. The works, when placed in a site specific context, will create a dialectical relationship with each other that elucidates and informs my conceptual approaches using performance art methodologies, collage, and post-structuralist theory.

My work looks at and listens carefully to unheard voices and untellable stories as well as the physical and emotional environments that are products of these cultural and personal limitations, imposed by larger systems and individuals. My work explores the aesthetics (sonic, smell, taste, visceral...) of sexual violence(s) and trauma, and its role in eschewing perception. How can an innocent aesthetic relate to adult materials, violence, and pornography? Through a lens of childlike blamelessness, I investigate vintage aesthetics, language, color, and sensuality. I play with interdisciplinary investigations of larger concepts, such as melancholia and the power of myth/story, to (re)shape and haunt memory. I create visual and text-based narratives of discarded/found materials constructing narratives through use of artifacts, then create performance hauntings related to these "ghosts." I examine my own position/privilege in these contexts. This evokes empowering and fascinating questions around exploitation and celebration inherent in making art out of the silenced and discarded objects, texts, letters, and bi-products of othered people in our society: the victims of gentrification, the poor, elderly, mentally ill, and survivors of violence.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.