Home Salty Home, 2015
In the spring of 2013, I was standing in line for concessions at the Angola Prison Rodeo in Louisiana. I had received a grant to conduct research on the controversial spectacle of the rodeo. A friendly man next to me suggested I try the fried pig tail and reminisced about his favorite snack. His t-shirt read RODEO WORKER. I recognized the t-shirt as the same worn by men behind booths at the rodeo’s craft fair, where they sold their art. The rodeo was held on the grounds of a maximum security prison. The men behind the booths were inmates. I bought a pig tail, found a seat on the bleachers, and gnawed on the deep fried cartilage and bone. Dressed in black and white striped costumes, the inmates commenced the theatrical events of the rodeo as hordes of spectators cheered on. I couldn’t figure out how to eat my pigtail. Eventually, I grew tired of the rodeo’s pageantry, left my seat, and spent the rest of the day talking to the rodeo workers.
Spectacles are difficult to overlook (or underlook). Fiction has formed my personal ideologies as much as real people and experiences have. Illusions can reveal great truths, provide escape, and offer an excuse to look at things a little differently, if only momentarily.
I find that even when the veils of these mirages are lifted, there exists some underlying magnetism. These moments punctuate life, generating an unpredictable fluctuation that sheds light on the complexities of our social experience, upholds cultural idiosyncrasies and acknowledges collective vices.
This body of work embraces the theatrical cues of flashy venues and their tools of trickery while simultaneously admitting their fantastic fallacy. The video works document various embodiments of temporary pleasure, intrigue, and thrill. Bars, strip clubs, theme parks, arcades and other fabricated environments begin to represent a greater relationship between moments of extraordinary circumstance and the inevitable return to daily routine. The sculptural pile of lit-arrows attempts to put the universal icon of direction at risk of becoming futile.
Sarah Dahlinger, 2015