Nat Ward

A Nationless Place Opening Reception

New York Live Arts Lobby
Sept 2017

This fall the Ford Foundation Live Gallery features a new work by Nat Ward.
A Nationless Place features a narrative text, written by Nat Ward, that weaves across the wall through five black and white photographs of the Mojave Desert. The photographs are heavily obscured by playful lightleaks, flare, and a ghostly haze. Adding dramatic depth and a specificity of place, the photographs act as a stage for the fictional, first-person account of a character who seeks comfort and self-preservation in the most inhospitable kind of landscape. In the desert, she meditates on the perennial allure of apathetic freedom, harshly-magnified through isolation, and the implications and contradictions to be found in the recent history of the Mojave Desert. At a time when the fever pitch and pace of public discourse is deafening and fractious, A Nationless Place provides viewers with an opportunity to escape into an experience of the American abject.

Ward conceived of the work as a way to choreograph the movement of viewers through formal constructions of visual rhythm and narrative flow in order to expressly connect with the performance based mission of New York Live Arts. In the installation, lines from one image continue into another and the text scatters across the wall so that it appears to draw its own landscape. In this way, viewers may move both their bodies and minds through the spaces A Nationless Place creates.