Katerina Vo is a multidisciplinary artist whose work deals with themes of U.S. nationalism and national myths. She is interested in the violent melding of fact and fiction in the creation of the nation, and how this interplays with gender, race, and performativity.
Her series Fatherland is an umbilical tug-of-war, an untangling and re-tangling of fraught relationships with father and with nation, which not only parallel, but interweave, intertwine, and knot. Probing her military family, Fatherland is a glimpse behind the curtain of the mythologies and fantasies of the American Dream, which blur into the living of daily life in the U.S. to the point of becoming indistinguishable. In examining her relationship to her father and the nation into which she was born, Vo seeks to interrogate the way in which this mythology, including pop culture and repeated national narratives, merge with daily life, and how these ideas are transmitted through the family structure to create the national subject.
To create a believable narrative for the American public to buy into, the strings must be tucked away, the show must be believable, well-rehearsed– the state and status quo depend on it. But what happens when the Dream is denaturalized, when its performative nature is betrayed by the tag of a costume, the edge of a backdrop? At an absolutely critical political moment to investigate the roots of U.S. nationalism and militarism, it is vital to dwell in that space between attraction and repulsion, to hold in both hands the humor, allure, and nostalgia of nationhood, as well as its violences.