The Larson Shindelman geolocated tweets serve as a powerful contrast between our digital and physical environments. By showing desolate, often dilapidated, areas accompanied by thoughts turned to text, the images create their own eerily still chaos; they seem strangely “loud” given their banal subjects. The tweets, however, are eclectic, and often passionate, adding to the overall “volume” of the piece.
“Heartbroken reading through the #metoo posts today. I’m so sorry. Jesus help us.”
This tweet is a good example of how easy it is to filter what you see while on social media. By being given the ability to search specific hashtags, we can compartmentalize our ideas of modernity. This has become the natural way people use social media, where homogenized ideas can “trend” and transform into sociological norms. In this instance, the hashtag metoo has served a purpose that fuels social movements, and those movements ultimately shone light on the darker parts of our society. The backside of this hashtag-state-of-mind is the ability to pigeon-hole people into thinking violently. While being hyper-focused on one subject can sometimes lead to positive outcomes, it can just as easily be used by manipulators and tricksters. The author of this tweet is upset, the outrage is completely understandable, but the perpetualization of seeing the same general ideas in every tweet seems like an exhausting endeavour, regardless of the content.
While Larson and Shindelman intentionally create a sense of “randomness” in regards to the subjects of the photographs, this piece’s image tells its own story, working in tandem with the tweet’s content. The pain seems reflected in the road closest to the photographer. Used, cracked and forgotten, it is a fitting image to reflect the tragedies sexual abuse brings. What looks like all concrete and unattended buildings ends in what appears to be a rather put-together home. The bright paint and manicured lawn serve as an interesting contrast to the author’s text, perhaps showing that hope is closer than they think. Thanks to the globalization of the #metoo movement, topics that were once deliberately ignored are now socially relevant, participation may vary, but it has at least provided light at the end of the tunnel for some.
-by Will Wiseheart, Halsey Institute intern
image: Larson Shindelman, #Mobilize (Jesus Help Us), 2018. Archival pigment print. 30 x 40 inches.