On a recent artist residency in Dresden, Germany, I spent three months working on an in-progress series of moving image installations with “Flat Granny”. Inspired by my interest in the Victorian use of the photographic stand-in and the contemporary Flat Daddy, I created “Flat Granny”. Flat Granny is a cardboard cut-out of my grandmother made from the photographs I took of her while she was alive. For ten years, my grandmother and I collaborated together, making images in our homes and on the landscape of the family farm in rural Alabama. After her death, I still feel making work alongside her is a necessary part of my process.
This body of work was inspired by Flat Daddies which are life-sized cardboard cut-outs of deployed soldiers inserted into the family while the soldier is away at war. Flat Daddies are used to help children cope with the absence of their loved one. Upon learning about the Flat Daddy, I soon became drawn to blog images/online family journals that featured pictures with various Flat Daddies acting as stand-ins for the soldier’s missed experiences. I was particularly fond of the images depicting the everyday things like, saying goodnight, playing games, or eating dinner together. In the same spirit, I created Flat Granny.
For a performance/installation at Geh8 in Dresden, Germany entitled The Everyday Things, I turned Flat Granny into a life-sized cardboard costume. This was my first attempt to reanimate or give life back to the static images that remain of her and is a step towards a larger coming project.The Everyday Things relives my last visit with her in the hospital.
Flat Granny and Me is an ongoing series performances, that simultaneously speak to both presence and absence, our relationship to time and the process of letting go.
Stay tuned…A more complete narrative and supplemental images to come.