All I Have Is This Shovel
MFA thesis exhibition installation at the ICP-Bard MFA studios in Long Island City, NY in March, 2013
In December, I went to North Dakota to photograph along the Bakken formation. I mostly photographed the building materials used to construct a town quicker than its infrastructure evolves-- the billboards and the particle boards, and the details of life within the boom: the size 15 boots, the leftovers in the modular dorms in which workers reside, for a month, or for a year, on flat, frigid landscape punctuated by points on the horizon that could be fifteen feet, or 15,000 feet tall, TV dinners, Christmas ornaments, convenient sofas, and the taxidermied deer heads next to empty picture frames. I though I would obtain permission to photograph on a drill site once. I knocked on the door of the temporary tin shed on the premises and the foreman told me to come back tomorrow. I stalled for long enough to look at the writing on the dry erase board: A reminder that Robert and Jen’s wedding is Saturday next to diagrams of how deep, and at what angle into the earth the salt water will be shot. As he scribbled his boss’s Wyoming number on a business card, the television played a reality show about the Iditarod, as if it wasn’t cold enough outside.
An economic boom is a sensational story, and I went because I like to get slammed on all sides by extreme precipitation. What are the details of a place that is scrambled its anticipation of its own future reshuffling?
The installation that juxtaposed photographs from Bakken North Dakota with Hurricane Sandy imagery explored the relationship between the oil industry and climate change. It took place in Long Island City in March, 2013. The sound clips are of my grandmother reading futurist Manifestos. My grandmother's presence in the show served as my alter-ego, a much older, calmer, wiser version of myself steeped in anxiety of quickly changing times, trying to reconcile the impotence of humans in the larger cycles of creation and destruction.