(My first film, UPSTATE: vimeo.com/22693939. As explained below, this film is in part a reaction to this earlier work, and so I suggest having seen it before watching this.)
My honors thesis for The University of South Carolina. It was developed in part from a media performance piece. This is a film about a lot of things. Things that have occupied my thoughts for a long time (and still do). It deals with death and decay, in particular in my home town of Spartanburg, South Carolina (Just named by Gallup as the tenth most miserable city to live in in the country! Woo!). In some ways, it functions as an "autopsy" of the place, drawing comparisons between abandoned industrial and connective structures in a dying place and and the organs and biological systems in a dead body. It's a very personal film, too. A lot of my work so far has dealt with this place, especially its decay. As the culmination of my time in the Media Arts program at USC, it looks at this previous work, especially UPSTATE. UPSTATE was the first film I made in the program, and really the start of my obsession with my hometown, and so this functions as a sort of bookend. Once the film started coming together into what it is now, I started to look at it more and more as a reexamination of this earlier work (one early idea for a title was "UPSTATE Revisited"). In doing this, I felt the need to finally turn the camera back on myself. Whatever my obsession with this place and its pervasive decay is, it's clearly not something I can ever fully rid myself of. It's where I grew up. It helped form me and make me who I am. It is as much a part of me as I am a part of it. It simultaneously fascinates and repulses me, but the truth is that, as much as I try to separate myself from it by placing my camera between us, I cannot and will never be able to fully separate myself from it. Grief is an attempt to, if not come to terms with, at least acknowledge this.
Thank you all so much.