Hold Up Half The Sky


marche des sans-papiers, Paris, 2020

Hold Up Half the Sky

video and sound installation / 4k / color / France & USA / 2021

Link to video: https://vimeo.com/619014849/0afe95c602

Description of work

Hold Up Half The Sky is a sound & video installation, using field recordings gathered while walking in rallies/protests in a handful of international cities from 2014 to the present, especially Paris. The protest footage is shot by holding a camera overhead and recording binaural audio of the protest while walking. The video thus captures images of the sky above, leaving out any identifying images of the protestors. The motion of the camera inscribes the specific materiality of walking in these sites (the terrain underfoot, the jostling of the crowd) onto the footage of the slow, ephemeral, drifting clouds and changing light, eventually to be overtaken by smoke and teargas.

In the installation, depth videos of the sky are projected on the floor to create the impression of a upside-down curved dome, and audio from the in-ear mics is spatialized across the room. The installation draws on painting techniques used to depict the skies in renaissance domes, and 3D video editing techniques for creating experiences of depth. The audio makes use of slight delays and pitch shifting, which the human ear experiences as indications of distance and movement, to create an experience of motion. Our listening undergoes the destabilizing “doppler effect” caused by police sirens – as a sound moves closer and then past us, the perceived pitch slightly changes. Thus fixity of the individual viewer’s stance and perspective is disrupted.

The project inserts motions and struggles toward solidarity and collectivity into visual templates designed for solitude and withdrawal from earthly strife (VR environments, church domes … the gallery space.)

Hold Up Half the Sky was developed in residencies at ProArts (Oakland, California) and the Citè Internationale des Arts (Paris), with support from the American University of Paris Civic Media Lab.