Item Cover

Blind. 2012. Installation with wood, steel, laminate, video. 12ft x 21ft x 25ft.

In Blind, the viewer enters the darkened installation room and immediately confronts an 11.5ft tall candy blue deerstand. Projectors illuminate the walls, encircling the looming tower and the viewer with videos that pan through the woods, fading in and out of trees and sky. The viewer ascends into the stand, peaking through ‘blinds’ cut into the siding to watch the tranquil scenery and listen to the sound of distant gunfire intermittently resonating through the room. Although the lights are dim, the blue hue from the videos casts an eerie glow on the audience below, who may or may not know they are being watched. Blind weaves my own personal history with cultural implications of the shooting tower and how the tower relates to deer hunting, human surveillance, and ways in which violence permeates our lives. My grandfather always imparted to my family that any act could be justified by the survival of our family. When he struggled to feed his family, hunting provided food. As he aged and watched his family expand, he endeavored to train all 21 of his grandchildren to hunt and fish, just in case. Unfortunately, as the last born of my generation, he passed away the spring before he could teach me. Blind represents the rite of passage I missed, as I imagine it might be.

Southern author Harry Crews writes about the violence associated with towers in his short story “Climbing the Tower.” Crews writes, “As sentimental, romantic, and grotesquely obscene as it may sound, we all know that there are people throughout the world resisting with all their might and will climbing the tower, because once the tower is climbed, there is no turning back, no way out of it, no way down except death.” Charles Whitman, a former Marine, told his counselor everyday he woke up and fought the urge to climb that tower and open fire. In 1966, he perched on top of the University of Texas bell tower and killed 16 people and injured 32 others. Viewers climb into Blind and watch other viewers move about the space to the sound of gunfire. For some, the shape of the deerstand feels extremely sinister, as if the blue color only meekly shrouds what is ultimately, a killing tower. The idea of the tower cannot be summed up in a single incident or personal narrative, but instead, offers a place for overlapping narratives and connotations to exist. In Blind, I avoid one view from the tower, or of the tower, but rather offer peak into the world where deer are hunted as the wind blows through the trees. When everything falls silent. In one video, a doe walks into the field of view. The camera focuses on her, and the viewer watches her stare back. When the tower has been ascended, the only decision left to answer is will you take the shot?

Dec 10th, 2012
(9:41 PM)
 in “General”