Bethany Springer

Flyover Territory

Google Earth video paired with audio testimony that recalls sites of memory in Memphis, TN. The video is projected onto the floor of the gallery, while sound is piped out to streets.
26 minutes

In December 2006, I interviewed twelve residents living in Memphis nursing and rehabilitation centers. The interviews aimed to collect testimonies on these residents' memories of specific sites. Each interview began with the same question:

If you could fly anywhere in Memphis, where would you go and why?

These interviews took place in private and the responses proved unexpected and nearly unanimous. Most interviewees chose not to be in Memphis. Overlapping concerns with issues of violence, progress, equality, and power presented themselves as factors influencing the interviewees' response.

Of the twelve residents interviewed, one testimony represented a collective voice. Mr. James Mitchell was born in Olive Branch, Mississippi, raised and worked as a "water boy" in Germantown, and eventually came to work as a chauffer for Homer Jones, CPA in Memphis after World War II.

Flyover Territory pairs aerial imagery from Google Earth with Mr. Mitchell's audio recording. This project premiered in MADE PUBLIC, an exhibition with artists Robin Pacific and Hiroharu Mori and curated by Sanjit Sethi, at Memphis College of Art's On the Street Gallery in February 2007.