TRIP BIENNALE DAY 12: CAN YOU GIVE ME A LIFT? BY BRITTANY METZ & PATRICIA LOIS NUSS
Posted to transitinterpretationproject.com on December 12, 2015 by David Thomas Moran
Brittany Metz and Patricia Lois Nuss are artists and educators working predominantly in the Central Florida area. Metz is a mixed media installation artist most recently experimenting with video and alternative photography, while Nuss is a photographer experienced in traditional and alternative photographic processes. TrIP provided an excellent opportunity for a collaboration that was in line with both artist’s current direction.
Once upon a time, instant was special and it could actually yield an object. (queue the drama)
An object of beauty and wonder, An object of art,
An object that was personal,
…the instant photograph!
But this wasn’t always the case; most of us are old enough that if stop and think, we can actually remember what it was like to be without the instantaneous and never ending entertainment provided by our magic handheld rectangles. We are so accustomed to it we don’t even notice how extraordinary our instant satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) really is. Instant is the prerequisite to life, and physicality is secondary.
It was the product of the instant process that made it so special, not the amount of likes received. For this reason we resolved to work with Polaroid Land Cameras. Patricia had one already and Brittany, without knowing, bought a nicer one online for the project because as Patricia puts it, “she’s always one‐upping me.”
As we rode, we worked within other mediums as well (such as video and digital) but our objective from its conception was to utilize one of the original “instant” communicators to create something unique as evidence from our day on the bus. Using our land cameras, we shot our images on Fuji 100‐C film (a replacement to the long lost – and sorely missed – Polaroid 669 film), as well as one pack of expired 669 film Patricia was able to find on eBay.
One thing we really enjoyed about riding the bus was how it made us slow down. Our mission was to carefully look at the world around us, to interact with others, to seek out and record what details we could to share the experience.
For our trip, we took the Lymmo Orange Line around downtown Orlando. We used the bus not so much as the subject of our art, but as the vehicle to get us around to the experiences wherein we could create.
At about 9am, we hopped on the bus at the info center on Church and Orange, and rode around to the Orlando Public Library, Orange County Courthouse, Heritage Square, and even stopped into the Avalon Gallery for a quick Hello to Mr. Pat Greene.
We got off at each stop and walked around, spending time documenting our experiences along the way with the help of our lovely assistant Vikhy. We spoke with multiple riders and transit employees, photographed, and archived what we were shooting. I should mention that an assistant was necessary. This process requires development time, dry time, and results in quite a bit of waste that needs to be disposed of properly. Not to mention Brittany was hauling around a giant headless #manontherun. In summary, we had a lot of stuff, and Vikhy helped us manage it.
We love the playfulness of this medium. It’s not intended to be a planned endeavor – you go, you look, you shoot, you fuck it up, you shoot more, you eventually succeed and have one print to show for it. There are no negatives, there are no copies; you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit! The process does have the potential to be expensive if you aren’t careful. With a limited amount of photos delivered in packs, you aren’t allowed the option editing in post‐production. Using instant pack‐film is exciting but also risky.
We wanted to work in this way because it is less about creating the perfect photograph and more about the experience itself.
At the end of the day, you’re left with a one‐of‐a‐kind print. Just one print.
You could stop there, but we decided to take our project a step farther. We actually set out not just to work with instant film, but also to work with Emulsion Lifts. Patricia recently taught a workshop on the process and Brittany was interested in the process so we brainstormed all the ways we could use these lifts to create a mixed media sculpture (combining both of our worlds).
Emulsion Lifts are fun, experimental, and relatively easy, but there is no going back once you lift that image. You can’t curate it easily and you can’t duplicate these photos. Lifting is permanent and you can’t go back because there are no negatives, no digital file. It happened, it is, it was.
What you have now is not a photograph anymore, but something else entirely – a delicate, floating, see‐through, plastic‐like image that you can then adhere to other objects. We are putting the lifts on plexi glass, providing a window into our experience through a snapshot narrative.
Just as public transit and navigating the city can be, we believe our piece and process is beautiful, diverse, and unpredictable.