Connected by musical interludes performed by my dad in a deserted, Ford dealership showroom, the 6 projections that compose Roger, Roger form a semi-narrative, quasi-factual, spatial poem. Part folktale, fantasy and down-home jamboree, the main action (and often inaction) revolves around the landscape; the vast midwestern sky, like an inverted sea, dominates both the frame and the characters’ movements. Featuring guitar distortion, a spectral farmhouse, Elvis-impersonating toddlers and the strangely disquieting nullity of the plains, this 6-act fable mingles the banal and the homespun with the ethereal and peculiar.
Commissioned by the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, each video segment (mixtures of archival and staged footage) was projected separately onto suspended, translucent, plexi-glass screens that meandered through the exhibition space. Viewers could start at the beginning and work their way to the end, or start in the middle and wander sideways; the collusion of open space and woven narrative constructing a chronicle with ambiguous boundaries.
The first segment,The Dealershipopens with a local TV ad for the Ford dealership where my father sells cars. He plays the eccentric customer who offers to trade a parrot for a new Thunderbird convertible. The segment concludes with my father’s performance of Crystal Gayle’s classic “Ready for the Times to Get Better” to an audience of shiningly new Fords.
Also known as “The garage,” the second act begins with the my brother’s retelling of a UFO sighting and concludes with a silent guitar solo. The project's title (Roger, Roger) was inspired by the name of my brother’s rock band. The redundancy complements the fractured narratives and recurring doppelgangers (and I also liked the reference to Airplane The Movie).
The third projection revolves around my grandparents’ farmhouse and includes 16mm home movies, the story of my grandfather’s first words (“Mama, it’s gonna be one hot S.O.B…”) and ends with my father’s rendition of Moonriver.
Installation Views, The Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN, 2008: