Landscape and Modern Memory

 

The Imagined City.  The first things you notice are the great heaps of corroding machinery carefully planted and pruned in the public garden, and then you notice the buildings formed from living trees.  It is not just the natural and the urban that are blurred here; the inhabitants themselves slip from human to animal and back.  This is a place where the Origin is always present through physical reminders (skulls of mythological creatures erode from the dry creek bed) and though social memory (in the stories people tell at the local pub).  The sacred is there as well, but goes unnamed; why name it when it is life?  Divine sites, looking like nothing more than vacant lots, tops of skyscrapers, or culverts, are quietly avoided.  You would never know unless you mapped all the street life; only then would the vortices appear.  The civic rituals, on the other hand, are unavoidable.  Some are planned (to mark time) and some, like the parades that ramble through the streets without destination, happen spontaneously, gathering people as they go.  This is a city rich in meaning, even if its meaning is never fixed, and welcomes new arrivals and ancient inhabitants alike to participate in its becoming.  I do not know whether this is a vision of a possible city, or a particular vision of the city as it already exists.  Perhaps it is both.

The Theoria Story

Because my research into Theoria has been, by some, considered obscure, I decided to write an introduction to my explorations in comic book form. Because I am not a comic book artist, I appropriated one for this purpose. In the past, this project explanation has been mounted as a wall installation.

Theoria (proposal)

I have been designing and prototyping an instrument I call a theoria, designed to allow small groups of people to collaboratively engage and map divine sites located within a city’s waterworks. When the instrument is completed, it will be ready for use in explorations/performances such as the one pictured.

Loaded Text

“Loaded Text” was a performance walk lead at the Triangle Counter-Cartography Convergence (2008) in Durham, NC with Sabri Reed. We lead participants through downtown Durham, retracing the sites, questions, and gestures of the project “Loaded Text” from 1989 by Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler.

Exploring the Ganzfeld

At a TransAct urban retreat in 2009, I lead our small group in an activity based on a psychology concept called the ganzfeld, or “white field.” I asked, what can we learn about this place, this ganzfeld, somewhere between “sight” and “non-sight”. We walked around the ganzfeld, and performed various other activities to see what this place was like.

Urban Anthropology Project

Sabri Reed and I codirected the Urban Anthropology Project in the spring of 2006. As organizers, we (re)introduced participants to overlooked sites in downtown Durham for creative response. This process of dialogue, documentation, and action, culminated in an exhibition and evening of events at the Transom Gallery.

Assembly

Assembly: Rehearsing a Public Ritual for the Founding of the Land of Apocryphy, was a collaboration with Sabri Reed and Jacob Reed as The LOLO Trio. We built a live interactive environment that invited theater-goers to build with provided material in a way that engaged the broader implications of our constructed world.

Salt Crystal TV

A TV for watching salt crystals grow. When an assistant pours salt into the funnel, it starts a 45 minute “television show” of crystals forming a lunar-like saline landscape, then collapsing into the abyss.

H.Y.L.O.Z.O.I.S.M.

H.YL.O.Z.O.I.S.M. is a collaborative research project in collaboration with Marissa Benedict that explored, among other things, Joseph Beuys, the material movement of Chicago and its history, the lifestyle of urban coyotes, diving for anaerobic microbes and much more