1: to put in another place : TRANSPOSE 2: to interchange the places of
TRANSPLACED is a video collection of my revised photographs set to an original song entitled “Erigroove”. My life’s work involves the telling of stories through images, music and spoken word. This piece suggests the potential conscious evolution of an individual as he/she moves through the landscape of the natural world juxtaposed with the inherited ideas and circumstances of culture. Below the video I have included notes on many of the images.
Praying Mantis—symbolizes the hunt and the hunter. The mantis represents the seeker on the path to true spirituality, the journey of conscious evolution and the realization of the highest spiritual potential.
The Labyrinth— a place constructed of or full of intricate passageways and blind alleys. (Merriam-Webster). Labyrinths have long been used for spiritual practice and meditation. They are complicated circular pathways that lead from the perimeter of a circle to its center and back to the perimeter. The labyrinth represents the journey from unknowing to knowing and the return to the world with the boon of knowledge.
Statue of Liberty--has come to be known as a symbol of liberty and freedom. France gave her to the United States in commemoration of the friendship between the two countries. In order to raise funds for the construction of a pedestal on which the enormous statue would stand, Emma Lazarus agreed to write a poem. In 1883 she wrote a sonnet, 'New Colossus', which was later inscribed onto a plaque of bronze and mounted on the pedestal's lower level.
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Sloss Furnace--began operating as a crude iron-producing blast furnace in 1882. For nearly 90 years the furnace spewed pollutants into the Birmingham air contributing to the soot and smog that engulfed the city, earning it the names "Smoke City" and "Pittsburgh of the South". The Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 and Sloss Furnace closed in 1971.
Celtic Cross--is a symbol born from the blending of Christian and Pagan images, the Christian cross and the Circular symbol of the Sun/Moon. It is said that the Celtic Cross was created by St. Patrick in an effort to convert the Irish pagans to Christianity. It seems to me that the union of old and new ideas and understandings is of great use and allows for the evolution of consciousness. Historically, we humans have not done this well, rather, we tend to demonize that which came before and deify that which is new, keeping us in a place of immaturity, egoism and greed.
Guitar--my parents gave me a guitar for my 26th birthday. This gift became a vessel of healing for my family and an instrument of liberation and communion for myself and others. Music, when used for these purposes, has the profound ability to align hearts and minds.
Botanical Gardens-- a garden often with greenhouses for the culture, study, and exhibition of special plants. (Merriam-Webster). These photos were taken at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
9/11 Memorial--The National September 11 Memorial and Museum remembers and honors those killed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 and 2/26/1993, those who risked their lives to save others, and all who demonstrated extraordinary compassion in the aftermath through commemoration, exhibitions and educational programs. The memorial consists of two reflecting pools set in the footprints of the Twin Towers, with names of the victims inscribed in bronze around the pools. The museum serves as the principal institution concerned with exploring the implications of the events of 9/11, documenting their impact and exploring 9/11's continuing significance. (NYC, The Official Guide).
Architecture--is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or other structures. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements. (Pace, Anthony (2004). "Tarxien". In Daniel Cilia (ed.). Malta before History – The World’s Oldest Free Standing Stone Architecture. Miranda Publishers.)
The Slave--Slavery was introduced in America in 1619 and continued in the United States until the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865. I grew up in Georgia and currently live in Alabama. In my experience, the legacy of shame within the Caucasian consciousness and the legacy of pain within the African American consciousness is palpable and still in desperate need of resolution.
Public Art along the Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, PA
Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial Sculpture Garden - Helene Sardeau (1899-1968),
The Slave (1940)
1. a barrier to obstruct the flow of water, especially one of earth, masonry, etc.,
built across a stream or river. 2. a body of water confined by a dam. 3. any barrier resembling a dam.
verb (used with object), dammed, dam·ming.
4. to furnish with a dam; obstruct or confine with a dam. 5. to stop up; block up.
Serpent--I grew up in a tradition that emphasized the danger represented by the snake and which aligned the creature with the fall of man. However, there are other traditions in which the snake is revered as a symbol of renewal, The ancient symbol of the Ouroboros, the circular representation of the snake eating its tail, has been found in cultures around the world.
When I finally understood that life is renewed in the act of consuming itself, life becoming death and death becoming life in every moment, I had Ouroboros tattooed on my chest.
Stone Cross--In my youth the cross inspired great confusion. Though I was drawn to the symbol, the negative words and actions undertaken in the name of the cross were abhorrent to me. In 2001, I chose to be baptized into the Episcopal Church. It was an amazing time of transformation. My friend Martha explained the cross in a perfect way. The vertical axis represents the connection of earth to Heaven; human to Divine...the horizontal axis represents the extension of the Divine into the world through the human being. We first connect to the higher truth of our nature and then extend that truth into the world.
Zoo--For many years I would not go to a zoo...there was no getting past my aversion to wild animals being held in captivity. Then, I began teaching acting and found that the observation of animals was a very useful source of inspiration for character development. I began organizing field trips to the zoo for my students and we had many marvelous adventures. Though I am not fully comfortable with the concept of a zoo, because of the improved treatment of the animals and the enhanced and expanded environments, I take great joy in being close with such magnificent beings.
Shiva Nataraja--is a symbol that captured my imagination at an early age. 15 years ago I began practicing yoga and through the years have come to understand the symbol in more depth. The following is a description of Shiva Nataraja from The Ancient History Encyclopedia.
The dance the smiling Shiva is performing is the Tandava, the cosmic dance which both creates and destroys the universe. The energy and wildness of the dance is shown in his bent knees and the extravagant spreading of the god’s hair. Shiva’s locks also contain a skull, a datura blossom, and a crescent moon which represents the idea that Shiva is ever-present even if sometimes he is not always visible. Even more prominent is the figure of Ganga, the personification of the river Ganges, who, according to Hindu mythology, was brought gently from the heavens down to earth in the god’s hair. Sometimes the god’s hair is topped with a fan of konnai leaves. Shiva is providing his own music, as in his upper right hand he holds a small drum – the damaru (usually taking the shape of an hour-glass) – which provides not only rhythm but also reminds that it was this drum which made the first sounds of the creation. The beat of the drum is also considered to provide the heartbeat of the cosmos, the maya. Conversely, in Shiva’s upper left hand he holds agni, the divine fire, which will destroy the universe.
Shiva’s lower right hand makes the abhaya mudra gesture of blessing which calms all fear, and the lower left arm sweeps across his torso with the hand pointing to his left foot in the gesture of gaja hasta, symbol of salvation and liberation. Shiva’s right foot is shown stamping on the dwarf figure Apasmara Purusha, who holds a cobra and who represents illusion and ignorance, leading humanity away from truth.
210--The count down. To what end? We are at choice...We choose.
This building is in Montgomery, Alabama. When I took the photo I had no idea that it would one day have such significance to me. For years the scientists have been telling us that we are destroying the earth and that we must change our course, and for years we have ignored their warnings. Now, two months into the pandemic, the world of man has been shut down and the natural world reveals her nature, our nature, to us. Homeostasis, the tendency of a system to return to balance, to self-correct, is the nature of life. The air is clearing, the waters are cooling, as mother earth immediately begins to heal herself. This, too, is our nature, not our nurture, but our nature. We have the choice to return to the nature rising within us...to align our lives and our cultures in the intelligence of life itself...or, to continue in the path of greed and consumerism designed by our ignorant egoic minds. It is not too late.