Closer by the Minute
September 18 - December 6, 2015
Fueled by bustling post-World War II manufacturing and industrial growth, the City of Niagara Falls and the auto industry embraced technology and industrialization. In the 1970s, in Niagara Falls, the industrial chemical production site known as Love Canal became the first designated toxic superfund site in the United States. At the same time, Detroit was filling the demand for a product that would soon be out of date. Today the City of Niagara Falls has failed and the auto industry is grappling with the disruptive changes that are upon us. Through captivating and immersive video installations, Closer by the Minute offers an impressionistic view of these stories.
To stand at the very edge of Niagara Falls is to feel the water's primal pull. There, where the roaring river drops away at your feet, you can partake in an ageless miracle. Yet the nearby City of Niagara Falls has seen one of the most remarkable declines of any urban center. Where some see total collapse in less than a lifetime, others see a hometown with strong roots and culture. Still others see a landscape worshipped for its divinity over several millennia.
In their work, Niagara Falling, David and Hi-Jin Hodge present an artistic investigation where interviews by representatives of several generations are blended with pictorial and historical material to capture the essence of the city. Its path in recent decades is laid bare without judgment or accusation in a shifting collage of shards from the past and present.
Life on Wheels
The car. So familiar, so entwined in American life that it's not merely an indispensable tool but an inextricable feature of our cultural history. Through a combination of multiple projections and a scale model highway representing the intrusion of the Interstate into the natural landscape, the Hodge's installation of Life on Wheels aims to incite contemplation more than action. It encourages visitors to reflect on the roles cars play in our lives and to consider what our dependence on them means in the most basic terms.
San Francisco-6th Street Corridor
The artists see inverse parallels between the magnitude of Niagara Falls and the depth of urban despair that has befallen that city. Likewise, they recognize the jewel and generosity of the Pacific Ocean in contrast to the shrinking capacity of California to support its population. They see unprecedented concentrations of wealth and poverty in cities surrounded by spectacular bodies of water, and for this project they have included interviews and footage from San Francisco's 6th Street residents to see what stories resonate on both coasts.
Images: David and Hi-Jin Hodge, Niagara Falling (stills), 2013, courtesy of the artists.