Layered Perspectives, UNC-Charlotte, Rowe Gallery, Nov./Dec. 2009
The installation Layered Perspectives is the result of a collaboration between eleven art students during a Special Topics class titled “Mapping Charlotte” (University of North Carolina, Charlotte) and myself. During the 7-week course we explored, mapped, documented and researched various aspects of Charlotte. In the selection of fields / areas worth exploring I relied on the students’ judgment and preferences, since most of them had grown up in or around Charlotte, while I was a first-time visitor. Each student chose their own fields of inquiry according to their personal interests. These could for instance be city neighborhoods, time periods in history or specific community groups. Some of the topics addressed were:
- The Charlotte neighborhoods of Plaza Midwood and Parkwood
- Tryon Street as it changes from the Northern to the Southern city limits of Charlotte
- The cotton mills and their remnants in our time
- The Gold Rush era and its impact on Charlotte’s future
- The inner city, construction sites and traffic
- The lands around Charlotte and how they have been urbanized in the recent past
- Subcultures / nightlife in different Charlotte neighborhoods
- Muslim communities and their roles within Charlotte’s larger community
- Residents of the past who have affected Charlotte to become the city it is today
The students researched their topics through books, archives, online and in museums. They took photos, video footage, sound recordings and took interviews.
With the summary of these materials I created an all-immersive installation with six simultaneous video projections. Although the sequences do not hide our critical views of the city, they also give a delightful insight into the diversity of Charlotte and reveal unexpected niches and places only insiders and long-term residents would know of.
Projected onto, into and across the sculptural elements that were salvages from construction sites and unused industrial sites, the images become distorted and their contents fragmented, paralleling the disruption and dillusion of the city’s history.
Layered Perspectives is on view at Rowe Gallery (lower level), UNC-Charlotte until December 10, 2009, weekdays 10 am – 4 pm.