'The Pathfinder: Prospect', begins with the filming of a painted portrait of a 19th century politician and pioneer, John C. Frémont, housed in the Brooklyn museum, New York. From this figure the camera begins to build curious panning views of staged historical dwellings and stuffy expansionist-era oil paintings, before moving on to stationary shots of the nearby Prospect Park, with its carefully allotted tracts of woodland and pasture.
The pace of the footage is dictated by a recording of a local drum circle; a loose collective of neighbourhood residents who come together each week, with no clear leader, and improvise African and Caribbean drum rhythms. A crescendo is reached at the parks northern exit as the viewer is brought to fragmented visions of paths and roads, dissected by painted lines and cracked patterns.
A series of subtitled phrases appears throughout the video, in which a loose conversation is recounted. A narrator struggles to clarify it's own position in remembering a past journey to distant islands, when utopian ideals were discussed and only half formulated.
Throughout 'The Pathfinder: Prospect', the uneasy collision between 19th and 20th century urban planning, the displacement of migrant communities, and idealised visions of pastoral equilibrium are melded together through the intuitive, pulsing efforts of the drum circle.
Filmed in Prospect Park, and the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, 2011.
Thanks to Luke Collins, Patricia Valencia, the musicians of the Prospect Park Drummer's Grove, and Karen Sherry at the Brooklyn Museum.
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