Any Place, 2011
"Any Place" is a moving video installation. The installation was made of two 10' by 10' canvas screens hinged together from two joining sides, while opposite sides were displayed open to create a large triangular projection surface. The audience was invited to view the video screens from all sides of the structure.
The video was then projected onto the joining corners of the installation structure. The video is a time-lapse film of green grass growing with a simple overlaid text animations that spelled “Where is your home?” The simplistic nature of the video lead to a meditative experience.
The screens started at a five foot distance and then slowly opened throughout the duration of the 5 minute video, thus redefining the shape of the installation and the context of a fixed viewing environment.
The work had an accompanied audio soundscape of various interviews of anonymous individuals explaining their definitions of home.
Script: “I want to invite you to view the piece from three positions and throughout the piece feel free to change your position at any moment.”
(Demonstrate the three positions: on back, on stomach, standing around the sides.)
“Also please stay close to the group.” (I want the audience to be near the screens and each other.)
“If you chose to move please take a moment to settle and breath before moving to the next place.”
Tasks: soundscapes, interviews, After Effects, video of grass, projecting using keyhole, moving screens without being distracting, playing keyboard, sampling street performer play accordion.
Notes: I conducted 17 interviews. The question temporarily changed my relationship to my environment. Every space I entered, I asked myself if I was home. Every person I encountered, I saw as a potential interview candidate. All of the sudden my feelings of home were haunting me, my feelings of being displaced haunted me and everyone I was amongst had something that I wanted, a voice, a history, a moment in time. The performance was in approaching people on the street, in shops and cafes, at parties and asking very simply "Where is your home?". Some were defensive and others were surprisingly eager and appreciative of my interest in them. I feel like I achieved removing the veal from the audience and the performer, if the performance was really in the interview process. During the interviews the interviewee was the lead performer and I was the audience so the veal was removed in this act of reversing roles. Then an additional layer was added by knowing that there would be a future third party audience. The characters in this piece were the interviewees, my role that bounced back and forth from audience to performer, and the final audience that was placed in the piece and again allowed me to reverse roles with the audience by watching the participation. The use of the screen and the soundscape played with and questioned the concept of being placed and displaced.
Another aspect that I hadn’t predicted in creating the piece was the presence of consumerism. I felt comfortable asking strangers about their homes if I bought something from them. This was more of a reflection of my own personal relationship and comfort level to consumerism and exchange rather than a social experiment. But I found it interesting how consumerism affects how I relate and connect. It brought attention to the role of consumerism within community.
Another aspect that I was surprised by was the hyper-realization of my loss of home and community. I would have loved to interview children and older adults but having just relocated to Chicago and working under a time constraint I wasn’t able to access these communities and it didn’t seem appropriate to approach just anyone on the street. Had I created this soundscape in Kansas City (my home) I would have had no problem finding these voices because I regularly taught dance to children and adults of all ages from multiple back rounds. Being here in Chicago at Columbia and my shared apartment loft community the voices that I was able to access were mostly caucasian young professionals and artists between 21-35. While this should have not been a surprise it brought an awareness to my definition of community and home, which encompasses people of all ages and ethnicities.
My agenda was to create a piece that involved community, how we relate, personal history and role reversal with the performer and audience.