Growing up in the rural hills and hollows of eastern Appalachia, I came to know land as enclosing, intimate, and sometimes isolating. I was raised among spiritual idealists and seekers, spending my adolescence in an intentional community around a fundamentalist church. The result is a complicated, urgent relationship to place that finds its way as an obsession into my experimental film practice.
So far this work has been rooted in the landscape of the east coast: dense cities, pastoral farms, and wooded hills. My process is place-specific and formally fluid. Rather than searching for the “essence” of a place, it involves extended processes of mapping, mimicking, or reimagining in a living ecology of spirituality, land, body, language, and seeing.
If These Were Silent (2014) and Winter, Wissahickon Woods (2016), each consider preserved woodland spaces not just for their scenic beauty, but as sites for meditation, ritual and play. In both, blurred and fragmented imagery pushes at the boundaries of the frame, inviting a kind of seeing that crosses over into the gestural, the bodily, and perhaps the spiritual. Similarly, these spaces often invite us outside ourselves, immersing us in an unmistakably alive, non-human world. Remembering the places where our living comes into intimate conversation with the living of the natural world reminds us of what is at stake when we develop and use our land.