Focusing on the Tar Creek site which encompasses Picher, OK and several other small American towns straddling the Kansas/Oklahoma border, Tar Creek follows the story of these mining communities from their clandestine beginnings on Native land to their eventual dissolution in the wake of the damage wrought by extraction. One of the primary producers of metal for bullets during the first World War, Tar Creek is one of the biggest environmental disasters in the country. The out-sized piles of tailings in the midst of flat plains are the lynchpin of this visual history.
black damp draws on the story of the town of Centralia, once a community of about 1600 people in Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region. A fire has been burning underneath the erstwhile town for forty years and it is believed there is enough coal underneath it to fuel the fire for two hundred more. Using archival photos and footage of the site as it appears today, black damp explores the strange story of the town, the culpability of government in the face of disaster, and the experience of ownership.
Comprised of un-peopled footage from the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans shot in the summer of 2009 along with archival footage of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, this video is a quiet reflection on loss, absence, and community. The narratives of the events are colluded through the offset of voice and image - neither the words New Orleans nor the word Katrina are used, allowing the echoes of history to play themselves out.
A poetic investigation into the invisibility of loss as it plays out on the landscape of an infamous tragedy, 'Hyacinth' was produced in 2008 after a visit to the site of Jonestown, Guyana, where in 1978, over 900 members of the People's Temple lost or took their own lives in a mass murder-suicide. The word Jonestown is never used in the video in an attempt to separate the narrative of the People's Temple from its Kool-Aid colored infamy
A reflection on the survival and persistence of the Lakota people as well as the relationship between white and Native Americans. The title refers to a Western, made in 1931, from which the footage of the Oklahoma land rush is appropriated and run backward in a kind of unsettling of the West. The original Cimarron is noted for it's stereotypical portrayals of Native Americans.
Taking as its foundation the practices of documentary, poetry, and contemporary landscape photography, Paradise is a series of short videos that focuses on the sites of American tragedies. These sites are largely un-sanctified and generally not prioritized in national memory, though in some cases they have been briefly sensationalized. The viewer experiences each place and its history through current and archival images, local…
Taking as its foundation the practices of documentary, poetry, and contemporary landscape photography, Paradise is a series of short videos that focuses on the sites of American tragedies. These sites are largely un-sanctified and generally not prioritized in national memory, though in some cases they have been briefly sensationalized. The viewer experiences each place and its history through current and archival images, local sound, and a meticulously researched but poetic retelling of the events by the artist-narrator.
The basic tenet of cultural geography infuses the work: that we can read the treatment of any landscape for clues about the culture that occupies it. Absence can be telling. In each of the five chapters in Paradise, the vistas are stark and what is not visible becomes as important as what is visible. Details are obscure and names often go unnamed. We cannot always be sure what specific event is being recalled. This allows viewers who are familiar with each particular history to experience those events in a new way, and viewers who are unfamiliar with them to find a way in as pure narrative.
Images of seemingly benign countryside are interspersed or overlaid with a cloud of sparkling lights. This cloud signifies the ineffable forces at work in each story – the protective force of community, the survival instinct, or a place holder for what has been lost and is not so easily defined. The lights are meant to suggest that divinity may be something more earthbound than heavenly. That they stand in for things that have often gone un-memorialized amounts to a quiet indictment of - and lament for - America.