Eavesdropping doesn’t need to be taught––the tension of “not knowing” is seductive. Our brains are wired to resolve puzzles and sometimes our psyches find it to be enough. When alone, yet enfolded in humanity’s fellowship, in a crowded restaurant, a park, a concert, a movie theater, or under the boardwalk, the illusion of intimacy is comforting and deceptive, much like social media, where the number of likes and posts define our level of participation, even when we have never spoken a word, had a conversation, or shaken a person’s hand.
Additionally, studies suggest social media may be a culprit in the rise of societal divisions in the U.S. and abroad. The boardwalk itself is a metaphor for this schism. Class, race, nationality, and religious affiliations, are not evident from under the boardwalk, and those traveling above are oblivious to the gorgeous light show below, created by light reflecting off the water.
“Under The Boardwalk,” is a single channel, 8-minute looped video installation. Viewers who have experienced the piece are of two minds. The majority find being under the boardwalk comforting, the moving lights meditative, the snippets of conversation intriguing. A smaller group find the piece painful––prison-like––and ache to be on the boardwalk not under it. I wonder, would the ratio (under the boardwalk vs on top) have been different before social media?
"Under The Boardwalk" screening Experiments In Film Festival, Albuquerque, NM, 2017