Everyone Speaks

I was clicking my way through the images in the Greetings from the Salton Sea installation, and woah, were they beautiful. And at first, I felt kind of grossed out, you know? That I was looking at this devastated ecosystem and thinking- ooh that trailer makes such pretty colors! So of course, I thought, this is something I DONT want for my ecology. No beautifully saturated photos in my slideshow. I don’t want people to get the wrong impression. If people didn’t know what they were looking for in the Greetings from Salton Sea, they might just think i’s a pretty vacation spot.

But wait.

Is that the affect Kim tringfellow is going for? It IS called “Greetings” from the Salton Sea after all. It’s actually kind of…well…ironic. I can’t tell if she’s making fun of old postcards or if these postcards are actually supposed to get me to visit the spot. Then, the info pages all over the site end with a little point of interest. So the site really does serve as a vacationer’s guide, just a new kind of guide, different from the guides of the 50s when the Salton sea was the Miami of the west coast.

So then I started wondering about my own ecology. I DO want people to go to the Elizabeth Street Sculpture Garden. It’s beautiful and kind of weird at the same time, and I really like that. But I don’t want it to just look like some pretty little park, like some regular community garden on Elizabeth Street. I want to show the gravitas of the parks location— how Lower Manhattan has the lowest amount of green space in NYC. I want to show the gravitas of possible development on the space. But most of all, I want to show the gravitas of the sculptures because I just find those guys to be so frickin cool, the real owners of the park, ya know? So do I want to attract people to the park by its beauty? Do I want to show them the friction between the city council and the neighborhood? i think I went into this ecology, thinking that the sculptures were the objects I wanted to talk to, but then I really started to feel like a neighbor, realizing that I felt like I was ignoring a huge part of the garden if I didn’t talk about/investigate the possible development of the land. I can’t seem to figure out my positionality— there are so many stories and players in the park that I want to hear from. As i’m writing this I’m starting to think perhaps my site is a place to give voice to every object and human in the garden. A voice to the sculptures who own the space— the way they occupy their space makes me think that they don’t want to go anywhere. The garden volunteer sitting at the entrance talking to anyone who wants to— he definitely doesn’t want the garden going to the developers. And the people who come through the garden to enjoy. It seems that with all their powers, the volunteers, the sitters, and the sculptors, all she the same weakness of the City Council thinking they’re the most powerful.

Thinking of it all in this way made me begin to think bout Josh Fox’s Gasland. I loved how personable he was— I was struck by the way residents knew him, called him when they’d been screwed over by the oil companies, when they had nowhere else to turn. His strategy stemmed from himself being a victim of the issue, and then befriening others, creating a national community of individuals suffering by the oil companies hands. As I spoke to a volunteer at the garden, I kept hearing community, neighborhood. this is a space that creates a community of individuals. Even without needing to rally for a cause, it’s a space for community. And I don’t want to be an outsider coming in to interview residents. I want to be part of the community— I also want to be a neighbor. First off, I don’t want to interview individuals about “what is the garde, what’s going on with the garden.” I need to know all of that already (and I began to get an intro to that with my sound clips) I want the video, the sound to be of conversation— actual conversation. Neighbors talking, human and object.

-Arielle

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~ by arielleross on October 25, 2016.

2 Responses to “Everyone Speaks”

  1. I’m nominating this post for “most insightful.” Arielle, I think you did a fantastic job with contemplating how you should locate yourself relative to your ecology. Your realization at the end that you’d like to study the garden as a “member of the community” rather than an “outsider” is a really good shift in perspective that will translate well to your video project.

  2. The most thought-provoking post!

    Your first part of the post really got me thinking about the visual appeal of something that’s in reality very devastating. The connection you made about how it is “Greetings” as if it were from a postcard trying to welcome us to this vacational spot adds a dichotomy to the rhetoric of filmmaking. I also like how you want to be very personable, intimate, and conversational when filming your ecology. You gave great ideas for me to think about when I approach my ecology.

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