Future Perfect by Marissa Mackey is on view from December 8 though January 7. This collaborative project combines photographs from Mackey’s Vehicle series with short fiction submitted through an open call for writers to respond to her work. Selected writings will be shared in the gallery, and writers are invited to continue responding to her work throughout the exhibition, culminating in an online publication. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, December 10, 7-9pm.
The ongoing series, Vehicle, has been motivated by my impulse to explore, but also stems from an interest in the human predilection toward wonder. These photographs are made by illuminating landscapes at night with car headlights. This process imparts a peculiar tension and drama onto an otherwise dormant space or rather, perhaps, the onlooker does in reaction to it. My intention is to play to the inclination to imagine when we’re presented with ambiguity.
These images were taken throughout the United States and aim to be a relative survey rather than characterizations of any of the specific locations. Like many drawn to the open road, I was enthralled by the prospect of “somewhere else.” However, in my search for some lofty beyond, I found myself compelled, not by the exotic or novel, but by the ubiquitous scenes and features of an uncanny landscape that one could imagine anywhere in America.
Not unlike the viewer, when I come to these scenes I’m observing them within the confines of a frame, by means of my car windshield and through my camera. Throughout this project I have often thought about how accustomed we are to this specific way of looking, whether through photographs, movies, the camera, or the car window. Presently, the majority of experiences exploring beyond one’s own familiar surroundings is assumed as a spectator from a safe and often vast distance. I am interested in questioning both what drives speculation as well as what influences it when looking from this common yet disparate vantage point.
Marissa Mackey is an artist living and working in Madison, Wisconsin. She is currently a MFA candidate at University of Wisconsin- Madison, where she also instructs a class on digital and new media. Much of her work has been influenced by her upbringing in a small tourist town in coastal Maine that fostered her interest in the cultural exchange of place, the figure of the tourist, and the vernacular figurations of the tourism industry.
Call for Submissions
Arts + Literature Laboratory is currently seeking short stories to be shown in tangent with the photographic work of artist Marissa Mackey. Mackey’s series, Vehicle, is interested in the potential of open narrative and the human compulsion to speculate and imagine when faced with the unresolved. We are looking for short stories, 500-3,000 words, either in direct response to these images or extant work that explores parallel themes within the images. Themes that might be explored include but aren’t limited to: the impotence of night; suspicion; voyeurism; vulnerability within a space; the unfulfilled adventure; the outsider, stranger, tourist, or alien; the uncanny; and speculation. Selected works will be included in an online publication housed on artlitlab.org and highlighted in ALL Review as well as in the Future Perfect exhibition. During the exhibition reception on December 10th there will also be live readings of a number of excerpts and stories from the selections.
Images can be viewed in the slideshow above and local writers can view the exhibition in person. Submissions will be accepted throughou the exhibition period.
Deadline: Saturday, January 7
Please submit your work in a PDF and email it, along with a brief bio that includes your current city and state of residence, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate if you might be available to read your work in Madison on December 10 but please note we have no funds to help cover the costs of transportation.