The premise of the “Landscape Revisited” exhibition at the Lakeland Museum was for artists to address landscape in an era when we know the natural world not necessarily as a refuge into which we might escape, but as a living force which our culture has attempted to manipulate, sell, and exploit to its own benefit. My concept for “Evident / Evidence” was to create a kind of “peep-show”, which involved the construction of a mock Florida shack, into which the spectator is forced to “peep” through a burglar viewer eyepiece INTO the interior dark space. By ringing the doorbell, the viewer ignites a film and a video loop, which project onto a plexiglass screen in the center of the dark space. The loops include images of fragile Florida nature (swamps, birds) and a video intercut of the Hollywood film, the Wizard of Oz, with the Hill-Thomas senate hearings. I was interested here in the making of a woman’s body and experience into spectacle (parallel with the exploitation of the natural environment in Florida) and the positing of evil and blame on her. The specific complications and contrasts of racial and cultural identity embedded in these issues was further developed by the intercutting of the Hollywood film. Additionally, the piece presents a problematic regarding the currently fragile position of the film image vis a vis the dominating electronic image found in every home.
EVIDENT / EVIDENCE. A Florida shack door. Burnt-out. A burglar peep hole, turned around…we peer in, not out of, the house. Woman and nature are the objects of this peering desire. Nature is made into the “image” fetishized, in this “naughty” peephole game. And the house is ours. We peer through (between) the “dead” old tv screens. The image flickers on (at the ring of the doorbell), video first, in the center of the room. It is suspended, without visible support, in the “house”. The space is changed by the peephole, the space is infinite, notconfined and enclosed. On the video, the Wizard of Oz and the Thomas (Hill) confirmation hearings. Who is the witch? Who is evil? What is good? Into where has Dorothy been dropped? Where has Anita found herself,in this senate house? Who is the cowardly lion? The scarecrow? The Tin man? The film image flickers, as a loop, over the video image. Three images: a swamp tree, in winter, waving, skeletal; Anita, her face close to the phallic microphone, lowing her eyes briefly, discretely, in disgust, as she answers another question (pubic hair in a coke); a swamp bird, wading in low water, taking a step, fishing with its pointed beak.
The media has created the commodity and participated in fetishizing the woman, and the nature. Culture/male , nature/female? Who said? The positing of evil in the woman. Nature that cannot be controlled. Fragile/Strong.