Proximity Study (Sight Lines)

Proximity Study (Sight Lines), 2022.
16mm film, color, sound
TRT 5 min 40 sec

Pictured: Proximity Study (Sight Lines), 2021.
Set of 7 archival giclée prints from 16mm film with handwritten text 
Each print 11.5”x14”

Proximity Study (Sight Lines) is an attempt to measure closeness despite temporal distance. My grandfather (whom I never met) worked as a longshoreman on the Brooklyn waterfront for 37 years. From Governors Island, I am able to look directly at his place of work; many years ago, he would have returned my gaze from the other side. I filmed the docks on 16mm film from my perspective on Governors Island, and rowed in the Buttermilk Channel between these two locations. The film print trailed behind the boat, tracing our route, recording our sight lines, and reaching to bridge the distance across the channel. Yet, the longer we rowed, the more the water erased the image.

Special thanks to Marie Lorenz, whose “Tide and Current Taxi” project made this possible. Lorenz discusses the process of rowing with the film in her project archives.