Earbuds That Fact Check Speeches, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Earbuds That Fact Check Speeches, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Backpack for Women, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Backpack for Women, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Two-part Common Ground Device, watercolor on canvas, 36 x 48”, 2018

Two-part Common Ground Device, watercolor on canvas, 36 x 48”, 2018

DIY Surgery Kit, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

DIY Surgery Kit, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Voting Booth Portal, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Voting Booth Portal, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Helium-inflated Shoulder Pads, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Helium-inflated Shoulder Pads, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Ego Deflator, watercolor on canvas, 36 x 48”, 2018

Ego Deflator, watercolor on canvas, 36 x 48”, 2018

Tear Collector, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Tear Collector, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Two-prong Stethoscope, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 48”, 2018

Two-prong Stethoscope, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 48”, 2018

Anti-jumping Shoes, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Anti-jumping Shoes, watercolor on canvas, 48 x 36”, 2018

Many Americans cannot remember a time when the country has been more divided. Democrats are villainizing Republicans. Republicans are villainizing Democrats. My concern is that this state of perpetual aggression is placing an unsustainable level of stress on the mental and physical health of citizens across the nation, triggering a public health issue in and of itself. I worry that the further we succumb to the temptation of villainizing others for the sake of defending ourselves, the further we put ourselves at risk for becoming the villains we describe. With this in mind, I am creating devices, mechanisms, machines, and tools to help us restore our shared humanity. While we may vehemently disagree on specific political issues, there remains an expansive amount of space where common ground can be found. Two women from different political parties might disagree over taxes, for example, but identify with each other’s experiences with domestic violence. Estranged members of a politically splintered family may each wish for a way to repair damaged relationships. While firmly rooted in optimism, these 21st century devices do not promise kumbaya moments. Democracy is dependent upon passionate debates over issues including immigration, health care, LGBTQIA rights, and gun control. Participation in government is necessary; unanimous agreement is not. These devices are meant to be reminders that people are complex; that the pressure to identify with a group is at least as strong as the need to define oneself, that the spectrum of our beliefs cannot be explained on a single ballot, and that our similarities outnumber our differences. While it is unlikely that any one person will have a use for every device, I am confident that there is at least one for everyone.