Maintaining Appearances is a dual channel video installation that investigates the conditions and effects of the collapse of the single-family housing market in the United States. Most experts agree, and history will verify, that the housing collapse of 2007/2008, which caused an unprecedented rash of foreclosures and bankruptcies, was the result of artificially inflated property values created by the unmitigated greed of the housing/financial sector of the economy. While all social strata have suffered losses, the overwhelming burden has been shifted to a middle class whose economic health was already tenuous. Maintaining Appearances addresses two aspects of this situation, highlighting the fact that "value" is virtually determined by power, and illustrating a mechanism whereby this illusion is maintained through "appearances".
Two synchronous video projections each display a view of a "distressed" home in Gainesville, Florida. One view is from a third-person perspective in front of the house, observing from above while the homeowner mows the overgrown yard. The other view is from the first-person perspective of the homeowner has he mows. The man mows from the bottom of the image towards the top, traversing back and forth across the frame. At first we only see his head, but as he progresses we realize he appears to be nude with the exception of a cardboard moving box around his waist. Soon, we recognize that as the grass and weeds are cut, the scene becomes increasingly "fake." The longer he mows, the more the simulacra dominates, though we are never really sure if what we are seeing is real or simulated. The event is approximately 30 minutes in duration, at which time the video loops to the beginning.
Medium: Dual channel, synchronized video installation
Date: November, 2010 to January, 2011
Collaborators: Patrick LeMieux (modeling/texturing)
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All Florida Invitational, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL, July 17 - September 25, 2016.