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THE GREYHOUND PROJECT |  2012 - 14

DESCRIPTION:

 

MFA THESIS-WORK:

In a land that heralded the first transcontinental railroad, gave rise and accessibility to commercial aviation, and became awash in asphalt, travel across the vastness of America has never been limited on account of infrastructure or imagination.  However in this country, where independence and status are inexorably tied to the automobile, means determines and defines conveyance.

 

“Affordable” travel in the United States by way of the Intrastate Bus, chiefly, the domain of Greyhound Lines, Inc., has arguably devolved into a disreputable ride “from sea to shining sea;” an ignominious affair, more often than not, viewed through a prism of socioeconomics.

 

Those beholden to a single carrier, whose dominance is seemingly a testament to customer indifference, straddle or fall well below the poverty line.  These riders are largely marginalized or socially maligned Americans, exemplified by such “undesirables” as transients, ex-convicts and the mentally ill.

 

The terminals and buses through--and by which--these passengers venture is rife with exploitation, not only in terms of the service provider but also by predatory “moths;” most often, criminals drawn to the vulnerabilities and opportunities a transitory environment can potentiate.

 

This series is meant as a visual “ride-along,” a travel documentary that endeavors to intimately illuminate the people and places—the stations, towns, and rest stops—“serviced” by the bus.

 

ARTIVISM HK |  2014

DESCRIPTION:

Hong Kong: The "Umbrella Revolution" of 2014, seen through the lens of art history; how pro-democracy students created a richly expressive movement in homage to such past art movements as social realism, constructivism, and dadaism.

IN GOD WE RUST |  2013

DESCRIPTION:

On the heels of the Great Depression and its subsequent entry into World War II, The United States, on the heels of Detroit--then a city of commercial and industrial promise--arose to assist in the armed banishment of fascism from the free world and ultimately ended up saving a nation from certain economic disaster.

 

MANUFACTURING (AS A SHARE OF MICHIGAN’S ECONOMY)

 

1965: 50%

 

1975: 33%

 

FACTORY PERMITS

 

1951: 148

 

                                                                           1963: 14

 

A telling profile by Time Magazine attested to Detroit’s design-by-economics; what was to become an urban dual-edged sword:

 

If ever a city stood as a symbol of the dynamic U.S. economy, it was Detroit. It was not pretty. It was, in fact, a combination of the grey and the garish: its downtown area was a warren of dingy, twisting streets; the used-car lots along Livernois Avenue raised an aurora of neon. But Detroit cared less about how it looked than about what it did—and it did plenty."

 

The article in question—“Decline In Detroit”—was published in 1961, 11 years after the Motor City’s population plateaued at 1.85 million.

 

Though the metropolitan area is currently home to approximately 4.3 million people, the city-proper has become residentially “lean” at some 700,000 (and continues to “waste away” on a daily basis).

 

HOMICIDE

 

1967: 281

 

1972: 601

 

2012: 50% UNSOLVED MURDERS

 

The 60-plus years of “freefall” have been highlighted by a debilitating race riot in 1967; rapid socioeconomic “flight” of the automotive industry to Mexico and elsewhere, along with the middle class to the suburbs and beyond; racketeering via organized crime’s infiltration of labor unions; no to forget, civil corruption in a long succession of mayoral administrations.  Such degeneration has lead to the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States.

 

UNEMPLOYMENT: 29%

 

ILLITERACY: 50%

 

Truly and most especially at the ground level—block-to-block abandonment and indigence, massive structural degradation, an overall air that reeks of indifference, and nature’s fantastical, earnest effort at reclamation—SEEING Detroit is ACTUALIZING collapse.  It has become a frightening harbinger of economic and social intransigence.

THE WAITING GAME |  2012

DESCRIPTION:

…is a soldier’s tale. He or she will “hurry up and wait” a thousand times over in the length of a military career.

 

Once the uniform, an embodiment of selfless service, is retired--the oath to defend country and constitution honorably fulfilled--the soldier, airman, or Marine becomes the unfortunate beneficiary of a bureaucratic morass; subjected to an overloaded, undermanned, and indifferent system of health care.

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs, specifically the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), has been in existence since the end of The First World War. Subsequent conflicts of the Twentieth Century, leading up to the current “Global War On Terror,” have helped to exemplify the organization in terms of The Law of Diminishing Returns.

 

Currently, there are 22 million living veterans in the U.S., out of which 3.5 million are afflicted with a “service-connected” physical and/or mental disability. Within the next two years, the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns combined are expected to inundate an already logistically taxed VHA with an additional 750,000 men and women.

 

As a disabled veteran residing in Atlanta, visits to the City’s VHA medical center are, to a near certainty, a day-long, exhausting and dejected affair—and that could be just to obtain the most basic care (i.e. a blood test or the receipt of medications).

 

The hospital’s environs, a confusing sprawl of outmoded buildings--interiors through which apathy echoes on account of a seemingly disinterested workforce—are a testament to frustration; a place where the virtue of patience often fails to yield an appropriate, respectable return.

GUNZ |  2013

DESCRIPTION:

The American firearms sub-culture—it’s foundation seemingly cemented in the uncompromising and unrestrained ownership of guns—is an understandable and indisputable legacy of the Republic.

 

The recent spate of mass shootings in the United States has once again galvanized media and governmental scrutiny, drawing the public’s attention and/or ire by way of regurgitation; “dusted-off” arguments that range from the politically tiresome to the emotionally misdirected, usually followed by civic action which often yields abstract and ineffective legislation.

 

Amidst the ebb and flow of reactionary tides, gun enthusiasm cannot help but thrive.  Encouraged and emboldened by the politically fearsome National Rifle Association--it’s jingoistic calls to action the apparent product of demagoguery, gun enthusiasts choose to bear witness to their faith in the 2nd Amendment at any one or several of the domestic gun shows that take place throughout the year.

 

Part celebration, part marketplace, these gatherings are often so large and popular they command space equivalent to, of all things, the Pentagon.  The fellowship of guns has served to underscore a polarizing cocktail of intransigence, romanticism of weaponry, fear mongering, and misplaced empowerment.