"Do You Live Here?" 2020
Video Documentation: Projection Mapping on Cardboard
“There can be nothing more dangerous to a body than the social agreement that that body is dangerous” (Ahmed, 1), Sara Ahmed writes in her article, “Making Strangers,” which explores the concept that “the stranger '' is not someone society is unacquainted with, yet someone whose image is recognizable through implicit or explicit bias; recognizing a stranger is not to recognize someone unidentified, but to pre-identify that someone and to prematurely and inappropriately apply charges on that person. To recognize an individual as a stranger is to objectify that individual and to know them as a perceived threat before they are really known.In this piece, I am exploring the ways in which the tendency by white folks (and by white women in particular) to objectify the stranger upholds white supremist values and perpetuates instances of segregation, blatant racism, and the victimization of white women at the expense black men. “Do You Live Here?” sources a video filmed by Mr. D’Arreion Toles at his Saint Louis apartment in October of 2018 where he was blocked from entering his home by a neighbor, Hilary Brooke Mueller, who recognized him as a stranger. Harassed, denied entry, violated, and stalked, Mr. Toles, in an effort to perhaps secure his safety, filmed his neighbor and continued on to his apartment on the fourth floor. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

"Do You Live Here?" 2020 Still #1
Projection Mapping on Cardboard​​​​​​​
The video is projection mapped against what appears to be a white picket fence, bringing to mind the American Dream of homeownership -  but also the patterns of white flight, white suburbia, and white gentrification, which impede many from realizing this dream of security. These are fences that divide green grass, opportunities, wealth, health and security from “the other.” The video is color graded red as a way of connecting the present moment to the historical practice of redlining, which segregated cities and towns all across the country. The red also signifies the looming threat of a white woman’s fear - calling to mind the stories known all too well by black and brown boys about the dangers of being a perceived threat, and especially a perceived threat to a white woman’s “purity.” At times during the installation, the fence flickers to white, only then to be covered in shades of red once again, commenting on the fragility and falseness of this assumed purity. The red also calls into the room (for those who are unaware of the threat due to their social positioning) the possibility of the situation escalating and ending in tragedy, as has unjustifiably happened time and time again when a person of color is objectified as a stranger (Rest in Peace Ahmaud Aubrey. Rest In Peace Emmett Till. Rest in Peace to many more). The video plays on loop, as to emulate the cycle of this horror is American society. It is triplicated in an attempt to intensify the video further than it is, and to reiterate that instances such as this happen everyday, though not every situation is recorded and made an example of, but should just as well be unpacked, addressed and accounted for.
"Do You Live Here?" 2020 Still #3
Projection Mapping on Cardboard
It is important to acknowledge that this piece, although targeting white audiences for self-reflection, and focusing on the actions of the white woman in question, is sourced from the suffering of black folk. It is also important to acknowledge that I am a white woman, and though my intent is to unpack white privilege, biases and positioning, I have contributed to the tradition and “the willingness of a largely non-Black media to share images and footage of Black people in torment and distress ” (Black, 2). Perhaps I stand among the “other non-Black artists who sincerely wish to highlight the shameful nature of white violence” (Black, 1), but without the Dana Shultz approach. As I further develop myself as an artist and as a white woman in American society, It is important to ask myself, why for this piece i haven chosen to to use “Black pain as raw material” (Black, 1). Is there no other form of visual language that addresses white violence other than the violence itself? Perhaps the abstraction of the video projection aims to divert from the “appropriation of the lives and bodies of Black people with which our present era began” (Black, 2) and refocus again on the white women in question. 












Sources:
Black, Hannah.  Open Letter to the Curators and Staff of the Whitney Biennial. 2014
Ahmed, Sara. Making Strangers. femenistkilljoy.com, 2014.

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