This week, an essay and photography project that I have been working on is being featured in Places Journal. Here’s a little sneak peak:
“In John Carpenter’s science fiction film They Live, the drifter hero walks through Downtown Los Angeles wearing sunglasses that allow him to see the world for what it is, a decaying society ruled by aliens in human disguise. With the glasses, he can read the subliminal messages transmitted by billboards: Stay Asleep. Watch TV. Consume. Obey.
I remembered that scene as I stood on the roof of a high-rise in Hong Kong, photographing a billboard that proclaimed one word: CONVEY. Inadvertently (or not), the billboard advertised its own purpose. That became the title image for an ongoing series of photographs examining the unanticipated tensions, interactions, and dialogues between commercial images and the landscapes they occupy, in Hong Kong, Mexico, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, and the United States.”
This series was exhibited in November at the Mayor’s Gallery, Boston City Hall, made possible with a generous fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Later this month, I will be presenting selections of this work with New York-based photographer Anthony Hamboussi, whose La Petite Ceinture series explores the landscapes of a disused railway line in Paris. Anthony is currently working on an MFA at Queens College, CUNY, where I am now working as an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies. This exhibition will showcase the growing connections between the Urban Studies and Art departments at the college, thanks to the efforts of Jeff Maskovsky and Greg Sholette.