(American, b. 1977; resides in Chicago, IL)
Stacia Yeapanis’s multidisciplinary practice includes strategies of collection and appropriation to engage pop culture, especially television, as ways of exploring emotion and the philosophical search for meaning. As an ardent and genuine fan of many television shows, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Yeapanis uses television not only as a source of material for her art practice but as a medium to participate in culture. In this way television functions less as a means of vicarious living and more as a reflection of real anxieties, fears, and desires. Through empathizing with the characters and narratives, Yeapanis is able to confront the sense of meaninglessness and repetition she frequently feels in daily life.
It Means Whatever You Want It to Mean (2010) is a remix video of clips from twenty-three television shows in which the characters debate and search for the meaning of life. The actors’ simulated emotions, albeit often performed melodramatically and with an element of kitsch, are experienced as real on the part of the viewer. Characters repeat the same questions and express the same anxieties across different television shows, revealing a scripted search for philosophical meaning encapsulated in bite-size moments of dialogue and emotional outburst. Another dimension of pleasure is available to the viewer through recognizing characters, shows, and even specific scenes, depending upon the viewer’s familiarity with the clips selected by Yeapanis, revealing a space where personal memory and pop culture overlap.
Stacia Yeapanis was born in Newport News, Virginia. She completed a BA in German at Oberlin College, Ohio (1999), and anMFA in Studio Art from the Fiber and Material Studies Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2006). Yeapanis is the recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship (2007), the City of Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program Grant (2007, 2009), and the Bolt Residency, Chicago Artists’ Coalition (2011). Her work has been exhibited and screened nationally as well as in Estonia and China. Publications include MP3 Volume II: Curtis Mann, John Opera, Stacia Yeapanis (2009) and “Cross-stitch Contemplations” in Fiberarts magazine (Summer 2009). Yeapanis lives and works in Chicago.