Trailer with lettering: BAH DAH

Winter 2008

09/12/09 ART / Athens, GA



01/11/08 Summit Coffee / Davidson, NC

me with trailer

My last stop on the winter tour finishes with another warm reception in the college town of Davidson, NC – plus a mention in the local news blog,

Thanks to another truly AWESOME host, my dear friend Buzz and his friends at Summit Coffee.

01/08/08 I CHOOSE TO HONOR GOD / Athens, GA

01/08/08 Open & closed communities / Athens, GA

The difference between college towns like Athens, GA and tourist communities like Daytona Beach are night and day, open and closed. I must have archived close to 30 mantras on College Ave in Athens. There were plenty of curious folks ranging from the homeless, to students, to prospective students, to professors, to musicians. Many people approached me, eager to find out what the deal was with the trailer. In stark contrast to the suspicious rejection of the trailer in Daytona Beach, I began to wonder about people on vacation and the need to be in control in unfamiliar territory.

Many thanks to my awesome hosts Chris Hubbard, the creator of the Heaven and Hell Art Car and Susan Staley.

01/07/08 The sacred vs the image / San Sebastian State Park, FL

sand sculpture

I took the day off and enjoyed the beach at San Sebastian State Park. When I walked over the crest of the boardwalk I saw salmon blue clouds and the peep of the sun over the horizon. I had decided to get to the beach early enough to watch the sunrise and it was astounding. There were multiple flocks of sea birds worshiping the sun at a single point on the beach. My first impulse was to grab my camera and try to capture the image of natural beauty in front of me, but then I would miss seeing it for myself.

On this journey I decided not to image the “natural” landscape without evidence of human intervention. The experience of witnessing nature is a sacred event when it moves the heart. This is not an experience that I can bring to you through an image. I thought about the way images dilute the sacredness of a place. With better and better imaging technology we are tricked into believing that seeing the image is just as good as experiencing the real thing and more convenient to boot. If people choose not to experience nature first hand there will be no witness, which can lead to inaction, to the deadening of the spirit, and to the diminishing of our sense of and desire for the sacred.

I’ve also decided not to take any images of the interior of the Mantra Trailer for the same reason. It’s a space to be experienced, explored and witnessed from the heart. Like our own interiors, like nature, the interior of the Mantra Trailer is not a curio or spectacle to be merely viewed, or examined.

For those who do not have the opportunity to experience the Mantra Trailer in real life, I invite them to look inward to imagine the interior space. Imagine a comforting oasis, a warm, bright womb.

01/06/08 Melbourne Beach Municipal Parking / Melbourne Beach, FL

After all my bad luck in Florida I stopped in this public parking lot for two hours determined to record at least one mantra. I got three!

01/05/08 Long Point Park / Vero Beach, FL

Erika is staying a few extra days with a friend in Vero Beach, FL and will be flying back to Chapel Hill later in the week. I’m taking the two-night stay at Long Point Park in Melbourne Beach, FL to pull away into solitude and enjoy time alone in the trailer.

After our fun evening at The Top the night before, I checked email and found a big fat rejection email waiting for me from the Creative Capital Foundation. The next day we took the Mantra Trailer to Daytona Beach. It was rejection on top of rejection and disappointment. Maybe it was my state of mind, maybe it was the tourist mentality? I couldn’t get a single person to listen to me for 10 seconds let alone enter the trailer. I felt down and out on the project. My mantra for the day was I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I’m taking this time alone at Long Point Park to re-center and find my track.

Thanks Erika for being such a patient, non-judgemental mirror and traveling partner.

01/04/08 I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH / Daytona Beach, FL

01/03/08 At The Top (and the bottom) / Gainesville, FL

It was hard to find foot traffic in Gainesville on public property. The Walmart parking lot was the busiest place in town but operating the trailer would have been soliciting. We recorded a couple of mantras in the parking lot of the 2nd Street Bakery, but the cold and lack of public spaces made Gainesville a bust.

Erika and I spent our last night in Gainesville having a hearty meal at The Top while summing up the trials, errors and triumphs of being on the road. We made plenty of lists, things for the trailer, rules for scheduling work and recovery days, what makes a good location, best weather conditions, requirements for a good hosting situation. I was reminded of a mantra recorded in Durham, TRY AGAIN, FAIL AGAIN, FAIL BETTER.

We ended our evening visiting our fascinating host, film maker, Roger Beebe, at his shop, Video Rodeo. Thanks Roger!

See if you can guess the emotional states of mind we reenacted from our Mantra Trailer experience.

photo strip

01/02/08 An Interstate Romance with Ramón Velásquez / I-75 South, FL


The Mantra Trailer met RV, the Latin lover, on the way to Gainseville, FL. He kept passing us on I-75 with a naughty, sexy glint in his eye.

01/01/08 Spaghetti Junction / Atlanta, GA

The Mantra Trailer visits Atlanta but not before getting lost on Spaghetti Junction. The I-85 & I-285 interchange must be an architectural wonder and it’s almost as fun as riding a roller coaster. The mantras used in the video were both recorded in Atlanta. Erika and I set the trailer up in front of the Java Monkey in Decatur on New Year’s Eve day and at a private party in Virginia Highlands on New Year’s Eve. Response to the Mantra Trailer was friendly, curious and diverse. This entry is dedicated to our most marvelous Atlanta host. Thanks Audrey!

12/30/07 1st Day of the 1st Tour / Spartanburg, SC

Erika & The Mantra Trailer

It’s raining steadily in Spartenburg, SC. Erika Simon is joining me on the first leg of my trip to Florida. Our first stop will be Atlanta.

12/22/07 Bonding with the trailer / Durham, NC

Last night was my first night sleeping in the trailer. Now that I’ve given up both my studio and apartment I’m trying to relocate my sense of “home” to the trailer. I’m like a snail carrying my shelter with me wherever I go. Tomorrow I leave for South Carolina to spend time with my family for the holidays. They don’t know I’m bringing the trailer!

Carrying my shelter like a snail or reminds me of Elizabeth Demaray‘s project to fabricate shells for hemit crabs.

12/08/07 Exam Time Mantras / Sweet Briar College, Amherst, VA


The Mantra Trailer visits Sweet Briar College During exam week. Check out the feature story and multi-media slide show posted by the Lynchburg News Advance.

11/28/07 Signboard Heaven / Lynchburg, VA

Filmed during a residency at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in November. Lynchburg is the home of Liberty Universtity, founded by Jerry Falwell. Fast food empoyees say “It’s an honor to serve you and have a blessed day.” There’s a church signboard on every corner.