Critical Mass Top 50, 2013

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Frank Day

Airstream 19331

Cougar with Moss

Ohio RV

Airstream with Kayak

Laredo #2

Dark Airstream

Sunsport Red Windows

Trail Cruiser

Sue and Dale's RV

Turquoise Window
Frank Day

RV’s These images of recreational vehicles—glowing life support pods—lodged deeply in impenetrable night jungles suggest a humanity isolated from a dark, unpredictable and ominous nature. The powerful sense of displacement and alienation from the natural world conveys a relationship with nature in which something has gone very wrong. The occupants of these pods are hermetically sealed off from the natural world looming darkly just beyond. Or a social order in which something has gone very wrong. The overtly voyeuristic creepiness of these pictures also brings other salient topics into play: the withdrawal from public space and engagement in American life, and the interest in survivalism and individualism. These RV’s are seen as the ultimate gated community…nobody around them at all. Nothing is more American than an RV, but these pictures use RV’s to suggest we aren’t headed anywhere good. Are they there because they want to be, or because they are fleeing something? In these images the RV’s are the night song of a dark American dream, lovely and glowing, yet somehow toxic and chilling. These photographs are overtly theatrical; the foliage surrounding the RV’s resembles scenery props. The images are intended to look staged, almost dreamlike, half-way between fantasy and reality, concocted exercises in artifice. In that sense they share the current wave of interest in the theatrical and artificial, but in fact they are not. I am out on the road in Florida every night week after week with lights and tripod looking for appropriate RV’s. I then use incandescent lighting and (as the star streaks will show) time exposures to make the image. The occupants never know I’m there; their blinds are drawn and their TV’s are on.