405 North, 405 South, 2003
This is supposed to be a photograph of the 405 freeway (in Los Angeles, CA, USA) in evening rush hour. In fact, however, what appear to be headlights and taillights are rows of shiny silver and red Christmas beads, illuminated by strong halogen lights that make the beads sparkle in the dark. The beads are slowly pulled in opposite directions by hand on a black tablecloth. The photograph alludes to my sense of despair while driving from one university to the next to teach, and the sense of both dislocation and connection I feel when my body traverses long distances very, very slowly. It is also meant to express the strange and poetic beauty of this slow flow of headlights and taillights resembling rivers of glowing lava or brilliant strings of diamonds and rubies. My strategy of representation was to literalize the metaphors through a metonymic slide of concrete associations: the lights look like brilliant rivers of diamonds and rubies, which look like lit Christmas garlands, therefore the freeway IS Christmas garlands.