Localized Gestures, 2019
Video, 7:21 minutes, no sound
Sharing a local ethic, Localized Gestures explores how we use our hands as a form of relation, affection, and solidarity.
The wave could be interpreted as reaching towards someone, a gesture shared between bodies where we build connections by reaching beyond ourselves. Having grown up in a regional community, forms of address—the greeting—are common practices in local communities. Using a critical reimagining of the enmeshed histories of photography and ethnography, this work shares an anonymous typology of the people of Green River, Utah. For those of us living outside this community, how might we learn and build from these gestures? How do we grow and extend our roots beyond the idea of the individual into a larger social world?
A wave has been offered to you by a veteran melon farmer, a council worker about to celebrate thirty years of service, a woman who missed the fireflies of Missouri, a senior citizen sporting a hat that read “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”, a girl in those awkward years of becoming a woman, a pheasant farmer readying for a delivery of twelve thousand chicks, the local mayor, a mechanic, a Vietnam vet poisoned by agent orange, an artist, a back-country mule aficionado, a man who wore a high-visibility vest in solidarity with the French protestors, the high school principal followed by her graduating seniors, a woman who makes sandwiches, a nurse, a couple who recently started a snow-cone business, a man embodying a deep-seeded anger, a gardener, and upon meeting her a generous girl, among others.
Localized Gestures was screened at the annual Green River City Picnic and projected around the town. This work was made possible through the generosity of Epicenter and the larger Green River community.
Calista Lyon is an Australian artist and Visiting Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Kenyon College. Working in photography’s expanded field she uses research and image-based approaches to create installations, performances and community engaged works that explore the dynamics of memory and resistance in the wake of ecological and social collapse. Lyon’s work has been shown at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Australia; Luckman Gallery, California; Barry Art Museum, Virginia; Sydney Museum, Australia; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; Murray Art Museum Albury, Australia and Automat Collective, Pennsylvania, among others. She lives in Columbus, Ohio—the ancestral and contemporary territory of the Shawnee, Potawatomi, Delaware, Miami, Peoria, Seneca, Wyandotte, Ojibwe and Cherokee peoples.