Sunday, December 18, 2011

Crime Map Walk

Crime Map Walk Crime Map Walk Crime Map Walk

Here are some photos from my final project for my Performance Art class.  The following text is my short artist statement about the project.

Crime Map Walk
Performance documentation from 10.12.11 
Video, laptop, paper, pins

This performance is inspired by the idea of the artist as traveler, responding to the city they find themselves in as well as walking tours and maps.  Its jumping off point was an online “crime map” of Baltimore, which one can consult to find an up-to-the-minute map and information indicating the locations and types of crimes committed across the city.  Before coming to Baltimore, I found myself browsing such maps as a way of attempting to distinguish between the “good” and “bad” parts of the city.  As any long-time resident of Baltimore knows, it is quite difficult to make such a distinction here, where there is a fairly high crime rate city-wide.

For this performance, I used the Baltimore Crime Map ( to trace a walking path between my house in Charles Village and a main intersection in the Inner Harbour.  I then walked this long path, trying to pass as many sites of recent crimes as possible, taking photo-documentation in the form of over 100 photographs taken every half-block or so along the way.  These photographs were then turned into a stop-motion style video, which serves as the main document of the performance.

This performance plays with the idea of how people respond to crime and fear in an urban environment.  As a defense mechanism, many people avoid areas they feel are “bad” in their day-to-day travels.  This performance reverses this logic, and in doing so, faces certain fears of crime head on.  Also, in performing this walk on a Saturday during the holiday season, I realized that hardly anyone was walking around on the streets I walked during my journey.  This performance also attempts to address the importance of street life and pedestrianism in keeping cities both lively and safe.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

That's All Folks!

That's All Folks!
That's All Folks!
That's All Folks!

Installation with popcorn kernels, uniform and props, completed last week.  I've never put popcorn kernels on a wall I know it's possible!

I think this piece is a distillation of a lot of the feelings I've had and things I've seen while visiting the States.  Most of all, I think it is about how history moves from one period of time to the next, and about the feeling that things are about to change.  It is also about the loss of illusions.

One of my favourite movies of all time is The Last Picture Show, which I couldn't help but think of as I was thinking up this piece, as well as thinking up the performance I did in McKeldin Square a few months ago.  While the film's trailer focuses a little more on the torrid affairs between the residents of the fictitious town, Anarene Texas, the movie is set during a time when the movie theatre was beginning to play less of a role in people's lives because of the home television set.

Also on the topic of the movement from one historical period to the next, I read the following quote in a class recently, written by the American art critic Martha Schwender on the use of appropriation in the work of the artist Sherrie Levine.  It excited me because it questions whether or not we are nearing the end of a long period of overarching irony/cynicism in contemporary art...or perhaps also a period plagued by a sense of cynicism in general?

Appropriation rose out of this desire to have it both ways, to keep what you loved-- or at least knew intimately-- and still make art. It was a great solution.  But I was born in the 1970s, following the burnout of the 60s, and it has run aground in recent years. Not only have artists like (Sherrie) Levine, Jeff Koons and Richard Prince been dragged through the legal system for their cultural borrowing, but the postmodern irony and cynicism on which Appropriation was founded also feels outmoded in the Occupy Age.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Adventures in Canada

First try at making a movie! I'm happy with it. Mr. Lightfoot-- if you're reading this, please don't sue me for copyright. Technically this is student work. I am a big fan of yours, and I'd be really upset if you were mad at me...!