faster than walking
Joe takes Clare west 2003
Faster Than Walking was produced over a ten year period (2003-12), during which the artist hitch-hiking in the United States collecting images and stories that demonstrate a complex and penetrating component of American culture: the road. This documentation maps the intersections of family, commerce, evangelism, wildlife, alienation, travel, freedom and attachment through a paved America.
Drivers (A Portrait of America) pairs images from within cars- the world seen at 75 mph, and strangers who picked her up— with the intimate stories revealed therein, to create a representation of American culture through the random and incubated access hitch-hiking provides. 3mph5 1/2ft Above Ground uses abandoned objects and images taken of the road as body unarmored by an automobile, to expose the areas overlooked while driving. Indivdually, the objects carry discarded histories, but here are arranged with images, mirrors and animal parts to evoke motion, speed and the automotive rejection of that which is on the outside of walls of a vehicle. Sleep now, you are safe expands on this perspective and enters the vulnerable state of an animal form to contrast the hard automotive form through which the highway is most often experienced. Sleep now, you are safe invites the audience into a cave made of branches and ivy and lined with animal fibers and signs of home-making. Ibce inside this intimate space, the audience sees in projected video, an experience of the road cut through forest, seen from the protection of a ditch, up close but hidden, and shocked by the sudden passage of cars unknowingly interrupting a natural habitat. The contrast of natural and manmade, still and speeding, animal and machine, evoke the disruption caused by pavement introduced into a wild habitat.
Inventory (after seven months of travel) 1, 2, and 3 are catalogs of the items the artist collected and carried during one seven month period of travel. These represent both aesthetic and an attachment to physical matter as a record of memory in a constantly changing state of homelessness. Map (21st- 28th year) similarly investigates attachment and memory as the notion of home has been reassigned to a skirt worn for seven years and on which is documented, in stains, drawings and writing, a transition from girl to woman which reveals a path toward self reliance and alienation echoed in the rest of the works.
Faster Than Walking explores a kindness and fleeting intimacy among strangers necessary in the isolating environment of highways in the United States, and reveals perspectives easily overlooked in a system which occupies more land than any other single entity.
Images are from exhibition at Unsmoke Systems Artspace in Braddock, PA, with painter and Out of The Forge writer in residence, Sarah Leavens.