Three-channel installation: 16mm film to digital + super 8mm film to digital | 4 minutes 32 seconds running indefinitely | 2022
A site-specific installation that engages with the history of Bryan Park, Richmond, Virginia and the idea of buried film as a work of visual ethnography.
Supported by 1708 Gallery. Installed on location as part of InLight 2022.
In the year 1800, Bryan Park became the designated location for an organized slave rebellion. Led by Gabriel, an enslaved blacksmith, hundreds of men from numerous counties across the state met in preparation for the uprising. As the men assembled, torrential rain flooded Richmond, leaving the land impassable. Concurrently, two members of the rebellion revealed the plan to the authorities. 26 men, including Gabriel, were executed in the aftermath, as Virginia used the planned rebellion as a pretext to enact stringent legislation and implement even harsher restrictions on the movement of enslaved individuals.
The park currently exists on 262 acres outside of the city, surrounded by interstate.
200 feet of 16mm film and 100 feet of super 8mm film, buried in the park grounds for 31 days. The film was excavated, cleaned, digitally scanned, and projected.
Phytograms, created with a cameraless process, were built with Bryan Park's natural flora. This 16mm film was digitally scanned and projected as the two outer channels.
Soil samples were taken from the exact location of the burial, adjacent to both the gate house and lower pond. The soil was tested for pH level, moisture, and temperature. A record of location temperature and precipitation levels were kept throughout the 31 days.
Exhibition photos by David Hale