BELLWETHER is proud to present SUSAN BLACK I will
take you there
Susan Black was recently featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial.
Her video work is concerned with neighborhoods and architecture.
Using a documentary style of filming, matter-of-fact imagery
of neighborhoods in America, Germany, and the Netherlands are
the focus of these works. Human portraits without humans, these
landscapes present a hyper-realistic examination of the concept
of neighborhood and how people live.
I WILL TAKE YOU THERE, 2002
I WILL TAKE YOU THERE was filmed in the suburbs of Fritzlar,
a small medieval town just south of Kassel, Germany. Hyper
realistic footage of houses with a variety of ornamentation
present a typical suburban picture, one not so different from
other suburbs around the world. The footage of houses waltz
past using wipe transitions - this editing ends up slicing
several houses apart a la Gordon Matta Clark and re-architecting
them with parts of other houses sliding in and out of each
other. Harry Nillson's idealistic song entitled "I will
take you there" lends a sunny utopian escapist promise
to take us to a place "where smiling strangers knew our
faces" ...the "if only" in the lyrics suggest
that it is not possible to find such a place; this is reinforced
in the video by a girl standing outside her house with an
unwelcome stare. The song is re-mixed with the airy interruption
of a Kate Moss sample singing about dragonflies and daffodils
which lends a dreamy promise to the mix. I will take you there
is a portrait of the concept of "neighborhood";
a meditation on the dreams of the suburban promise; as well
as a documentary cataloguing of the architecture of a typical
suburban German town.
AMERICAN CLASSIC, 2001
AMERICAN CLASSIC is a very typical idealized American
landscape with houses and trees. The footage is inverted,
with the sky at ground level. The soundtrack is a remix of
two iconic songs -- Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner"
and Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring". Many of
the houses are flying American flags. The color has been slightly
altered: it makes one think of a creepy cake. This work is
an update on the painting "American Gothic"; it
presents an America that is a little bit proud, a little bit
like a nice cake, and a little bit creepy.
FLAT was filmed in Amsterdam. Breaking down cliche expectations
about a place, this portrayal of neighborhoods in Amsterdam
does not feature quaint old canal houses, but instead reveals
a more typical architecture found in and around the city.
Apartment flat after apartment flat bring a geometric framework
of color across the screen, spotlighting an architecture which
reflects the high density population of the Netherlands. This
grid patterned footage builds a rhythm which is echoed in
the soundtrack: a remix of Iggy Pop, Fischer Spooner, "Suicide",
Dot Allison's "Substance" and Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk".
Susan Black lives in Glasgow, Scotland. She studied Cognitive
Science at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and was a fellow
at the Skowhegan School of Art in Maine. Born in the United
States, Susan Black moved from New York City to Scotland just
after September 11th.
BELLWETHER is an artist-run space in support of emerging artists.