Video / Performance
After establishing the meaning of solipsism, the artist begins to cry in the video and as it ends, only the neck of the artist is visible in an intense close up. Head thrown back, Horton-Trippe’s neck becomes a heaving landscape of throttled emotion and impacted longing. There is nothing wasted, no false step, nothing trite or glib or slick in the transition between the Carbonpaintings and the artist’s long day’s journey into night.
WEEDPATCH OR BUST was a common sign seen on the back of an old model T or pickup traveling from the Dustbowl to California during the Great Depression. It is also the title of a series of performance pieces my companion, Scott Ardis ( TW Man) and I completed over a course of 3 years throughout the western U.S. Through song, performance, large-scale installation and musical composition, we traveled in our own makeshift traveling carnival caravan entertaining those we met on our pilgrimage. It was the beginning of the Obama years and we both hoped for a resurgence of the New Deal to help all those struggling from the 2008 downturn.
Our final stop was the 8th SITE SANTA FE Biennial where our audience was very diverse. From the wealthy board of directors to street people and the homeless, all danced together to a selection of Woody Guthrie and original musical compositions in perfect harmony.
“Bertolt Brecht meets the Carter Family”
Hitting the road in a converted 1961 Airstream a la art relief wagon, visual artist Shelley Horton-Trippe teams with FOLKyTONK musician T.W. Man to discover, document, entertain and collaborate with the growing numbers of families who have lost jobs and homes, as well as the American Dream, and live in RV campsites, national parks and traveling to other countries; becoming a new American diaspora crossing borders, as well as continents.
This video/performance/roots music experiment seeks to redefine community and examine class while re-contextualizing the Dust Bowl trail through a high/low investigation ending in a premiere with live performance, interactive video projection and audience interplay at “Weedpatch Camp,” south of Bakersfield, Steinbeck’s inspiration for “Grapes of Wrath.”