Key West (A Collaboration with George Terry and Brett Windham)
The video installation Key West is mirrored on two sides of a wall. On one side of the wall, the video loops footage of George in the landscape. On the other side, the video loops footage of Brett. The video itself is ensconced within a totemic installation, and must be viewed through a portal, creating an intimate connection between artist and viewer. The sculptural elements in the installation emerged from our memories and impressions of the place, and serve to enrich the video. The video was recorded on location over two weeks in December 2010. It was filmed primarily in four locations on the island: Mallory Square, Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, the Key West Aquarium, and by chance at a passing carnival.
Key West functions as a metaphor for a love story, and the endeavor to be an artist. Both of these things are unscripted, and offer little certainty at huge personal risk (if they are pursued with passion). As artists, we often work on impulse in order to create. There is an element of poetry inherent in trying to solve a problem when ill-equipped, while perhaps not even being sure of what precisely is being pursued. There is an absurd and irrational element to this. No matter the scope of the project, there is a level of aimless activity constituting work that must take place in order to form any kind of narrative (formal or abstract).
Because the video was largely improvisational, our faces alternately appear lost, bored, intense, and always candid: there is a documentary quality to the work. For us, it documents a chapter in our own love story. We are both tourists and nomads in a temporary location, exploring this strange new place from within the bubble of our relationship. There is a binary visual dialogue playing out between us. Both our fascination with the unknown, and our insistence that we together can see something no one else would, are key. While we are actively exploring and interacting with the landscape of Key West together, there remains a sense of being lost, stranded, and solitary in this landscape.
The green screen in this video acts as a stand-in for the undefined, explorative work that we do as artists. The green screen is liquid, it is a shape-shifter. It is both material and immaterial; a paradox. By showing both the bright green fabric screen and using computer software to cut out that screen at different times, the green screen itself becomes metaphor instead of video effect. At times it becomes a flag, a blank canvas, a paintbrush, or a portal, and at other times it is simply green fabric. It is our medium, our magic trick, our gateway to the unknown. In one scene, George runs to the end of an outcropping of rocks on the ocean as far as can be reached. He waves the green screen as a flag, as if declaring, “I am here, I am doing something, I am working.”
Note: In each of our separate practices, we are often concerned with investigating the endeavor that is the making of art, and an investigation of the artists’ life as a practice. We are constantly seeking, constantly asking; what is the work of making art? In retrospect, there is a stylistic link here to the John Baldessari video where he repeatedly states “I am Making Art” (I Am Making Art, John Baldessari, 1971, 18:40 min, b&w, sound).