Project Statement: I’m in the Wrong Film interrogates the troubled relationship we have with the places to which we belong. In this photographic series the American small town serves as the locus at which the mythical image of America intersects with the realities brought about by the loss of community, a globalized economy, rural depopulation, and traumatic repurposing of the landscape. These places are now forced to consider their relevance in contemporary society as, in their inability to modernize, they succumb to an erasure precipitated by neglect. As a remedy, many places rush to embrace a nostalgic image of an idealized past aimed at commodifying their histories and assuaging the collective anxiety. However, this brand of nostalgia serves only to deny the present and turn a blind eye to the past by imagining instead a “hyped-up, idealized no-place.” The photographs that compose I’m in the Wrong Film critique this simulated space while simultaneously operating within it.
Presented in a non-linear narrative, each image probes the psychology of a transient character that is inserted within a variety of constructed environments. This staging behaves in the same manner as theater or silent film, in that the actor’s persona is measured against a décor that provides a context for his performance. These tableaus also utilize the fundamental nature of the photograph as a moment suspended in time by presenting a transitory moment in which the agency of the character is called into question. In his impotence and perpetual immobility, he is a reflection of the small town that struggles to sustain itself in contemporary society.
Each element of the image reveals itself to be ineffectual. The social narrative of the small town, the performance of the character, and the construction of the image, which always manages to falter and show its seams, work together to craft a Theater of the Absurd. This displacement of reality serves as a catalyst for viewers to consider their own sense of place.