Slow Drift is a photography, installation and research project exploring landscapes and communities connected to legacies of enslavement, land modification and development that have shaped the environmental history and collective memory of the mid-Atlantic region of the US. The project takes several former plantations dating back to the 1700s as its starting point, exploring the environmental devastation of this period to unearth both scars and the ways we separate ourselves from the histories and land that surrounds us. I began working on this project after learning that the neighborhood where I grew up was carved out of the plantation. After documenting the first archaeological dig in the community and concerted effort to address the history of the site, the project took shape, linking my identity to ways trauma is buried in the landscape.
Using a view camera as well as alternative processes to make abstractions of archives, texts, plants and maps, the project unearths historical and cultural inscriptions on the land, detailing traces, gestures and memories connected to both the violence of settler colonialism and possibilities for the future. The view camera creates an exchange between artist and land; place and archive; and individual stories and identity. Each image traverses history, land, memory, and soil. The alternative processes images use site-specific materials in an effort to log the atmospheric qualities of a place and make images a psychological and emotional engagement. I make chemigrams to create textured, ghostly abstractions that log light, wind and soil on expired silver gelatin paper. Development, gentrification and constant reshaping of the land, its waterways, species and topsoil form the backdrop to the project.
In all my work, I blend a community-based approach with experimental and documentary practices and explore how truth is calcified and the way photographs become vessels of narrative, visibility and invisibility.