(Click to enlarge.)
I moved from the Midwest to New York in 1999. Surrounded by great architecture, skyscrapers, and bridges, the urban landscape couldn’t help but find its way into my work. As a huge fan of dystopian entertainment – think Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run, Blade Runner, The Hunger Games, etc. – “The City” series is a mash-up of my new urban life and a look towards an apocalyptical future. I began this body of work in 2005, and it imagines what New York City would look like if, suddenly, mankind had disappeared. The exact cause for the desertion is left vague. Was it a natural disaster, a virus, global warming, war? All that’s left of mankind is the cultural and economic spaces we once inhabited. Now these are falling into disrepair, and the native flora and fauna are overtaking them. A few images hint at the destructive history of the space – a library dome crushed by a tornado or a subway car filled with sand after floodwaters recede. To me, imagining something so globally catastrophic is both chilling and exciting. I often wonder about my own survival instincts when pondering an empty city.
Notes on Chinese Take-Out.
There is a dumpy little Chinese take-out restaurant called China House. The space is in desperate need of a paint job and new tiles for the floor. A thin film of grease covers the menu board and the large mirrored wall. A thick sheet of bulletproof plexiglass separates me from the tired man taking my order. Every time I go in there, I feel like it’s the end of the world, and a perfect addition to my “City” series.
My partner Kathleen and I try to create as realistic a space as possible. While the owners were in the kitchen, I pulled out my camera and took a couple of quick pics of Kathleen waiting for our food. These will serve as guides for how large to make the space. It is important to get everything in scale; otherwise, the final image will look a little off. Back in the studio, we divide the work between us. I will concentrate of building the physical space: walls, floor, ceiling, etc. Kathleen will make tiny plates of food out of polymer clay. These will be photographed to become the all important menu boards in the restaurant. A little fake fluorescent lighting is added to give a bleak impression. All that is left is to leave the hypothetical front door open and let the space fill with dirt and debris. A small red fox has taken up residence in the kitchen.
All photos courtesy of the artist.
Lori Nix was born in Norton, Kansas, in the rural middle of the United States. A landscape photographer at heart, she has been building and photographing fake landscapes and complex dioramas in her Brooklyn apartment for over a decade. Her work has garnered her several grants and a cult following among young photographers. She regularly mentors emerging photographers and lectures at universities and photo events nationwide. She has exhibited across the United States and internationally, with exhibitions at ClampArt Gallery in New York City, the George Eastman House, The Toledo Museum of Art, Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, Paci Contemporary in Italy, and Galerie Klüser in Germany. The City, her first book, was published in the fall of 2013. Lori is a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient in Photography for 2014. You can view more of her work at www.lorinix.net.