The American road trip is an excursion that encourages an experiential learning of this country’s narrative–usually the mainstream one, through important landmarks, memorials, views. By the journey’s end, new memories are made—selfies are posted, snapchats appear and disappear, and a kind of affirmation and melding between the self and America’s legacies happen…to some degree.
This is my first cross-country road trip. I started from California, and driving the southern route, ending that portion in Florida and driving up the east to the midwest, through the mountains and back home.
But I’m skipping the Grand Canyon, the Alamo, the Florida Everglades, the gateway arch of St. Louis. Skipping the Lincoln monument, the Statue of Liberty, and whatever other historical markers that have been maintained from our conquering and colonizing past.
Instead I am visiting street corners in small neighborhoods, visiting an emptied gazebo at a recreation center, an alleyway behind a strip mall, a bench outside of Starbucks, police stations, sidewalks, and the front doors of strangers.
I’m also creating a visual record of the experience. Gathering and compiling these spaces in hopes to articulate or maybe obscure what America’s narratives look like, sound like, feel like. Maybe I’ll talk to people and get them to explain the space, or it these locations may just speak for themselves.
The intended result will be entitled PASSING GROUNDS–a film that attempts to take a hard look at America’s identities, seen through the different sites of death at the hands of police in 2014.
It’s an exploration, it’s an homage, it’s a pilgrimage to these sites. Some are unmarked, others made semi-permanent. It will be challenging, not just because I’m still coordinating and trying to get permission to film some of these spaces, but just because there are so many, and I won’t get to all of them. The gravity of the sites may not even be obvious at first, so I may spend long periods standing there, recording. Looking, searching.
I’m not familiar with any of these spaces, other than the fact that someone died there, and someone, or something rather, said that it would be okay–but so many more saying that the fact that someone died there is not okay, or even if it’s just one person who doesn’t think it’s okay–it’s valuable to me to visit, and to remember what story has been put forward, and what story that hasn’t been put forward, that may never be put forward.
If you have any questions, concerns, even words of encouragement, feel free to contact me. I’ll be alone for most of the drive, so I welcome conversation, just ask for my phone number.