Among the Pines: How to build a cultural understanding.
Taking place over the Autumn/Fall of 2015, I had just become a non-resident alien living in upstate New York, and my practice focused on how the material of landscape could elicit cultural self reflection. I was interested in how the landscape built the new cultures of North America.
This first part of ‘Among the Pines’ is a photographic survey of the vernacular retail architecture of Erie Boulivard, formally the route of the Eire canal at Syracuse, NY.
Erie | Photography | 2015
What lets you know that one retail unit is an Asian restaurant and another a garage? The Erie photography series seeks to document the architectural language of vernacular retail outlets. How paired down can the symbol of a buildings’ function be in order for it to retain value through its adaptability when the business currently occupying it goes bust?
Leaf Room | Performance | 2015
The action of leaf blowing taken indoors to the gallery space. Over the course of three days the transitional material of dead leaves were manipulated as a sculptural act, mirroring the domestic social performances taking place all over New England during Fall.
Folk Industry Artefact | Pewter | 2015
Fire wood is one of the most ancient forms of sculpture, a transitional object both in its form and personally, as a link to home. A sculptural act, performed by humans for eons. I treat this form as a vessel, intrinsically linked with an act fundamental to human survival.
Among the Pines | Installation views | 2015/16
This body of work was exhibited in several location at Syracuse, NY over the Fall and Spring of 2015/16. The installations often combined sculpture, performance and video elements specifically chosen for their response to the context of each venue and its audience.
Among the Pines folk song reference
‘Broken Hearted Among the Pines’, ‘My Girl’, ‘In the Pines’: is a traditional American folk song with over 170 known versions. Believed to have originated in the lower Appalachians circa 1870, throughout its history the song often includes three elements: a chorus about ‘in the pines and a lost love, a verse about “the longest train” and an element about a decapitation. Writing about what constituted the song in his book “Long Steel Rail: The Railroad in American Folksong” the folk historian Norm Cohen explains how music anthropologist outlined a framework for understanding all the versions under one theoretical umbrella.
‘McCulloh concluded that any song that had (1) an “in the Pines” tune with either a “longest train” or an “in the pines” couplet, (2) a text approximating a hypothetical “longest Train”/”In the Pines” text, or (3) a text including at least two of the three textual elements noted above could be considered a version of the song in question. Her third set of criteria opens the door to several pieces that may consist largely of other stanzas.