Mockingbird
2 March 2015

The mockingbird is the state bird of Texas and a familiar presence in my Dallas neighborhood. Like a mockingbird mimicking the call of another bird, these videos mimic and interpret urban environments.

The street where I was living when I made this work was bordered by residential neighborhoods, a major toll way and a cluster of car dealerships. As in many cities, there are pockets where zoning seems to overlap. On walks, I would find myself continually butting up against physical barriers, the walls of the toll way and streets cut-off by fencing and neighborhoods. Curious about the physical and psychological barriers in this space I created scenes that embody how these converging spaces feel – both claustrophobic and expansive at the same time. The entry and exit points of these videos extend well beyond the frame but the viewer is always fixed in a single location.

There is a sense that we are watching these places either right before or right after an event. Uncertain narratives never quite manifest, these are places hovering in expectation. The videos, rock back and forth, seemingly suspended indefinitely in a single moment. The movements in the videos are the ambient changes in our environments: litter blowing across the parking lot, the movement of clouds, and light and shadows moving on the street. The faint movement in these videos share as much with photographs as moving images: the vantage point is fixed and the stillness of the scene is amplified by the subtly of the changes in each environment.

These scenes are created by compositing together photographs, videos and audio recordings allowing me freedom to emphasize specific elements in the environment that fascinate me.

 

© 2016 Leigh Merrill, All Rights Reserved