15,540 Miles, 2002
School desk, #2 Pencils, sawdust, chalkboard, cyanotype on carpet
Road Agent, Dallas, TX • 09.07
Beastly Words explores the fundamental flaw of language as an expression of our deepest selves, and the contradictions of language as image. Pained, repetitive words and phrases are subdued and channeled into new forms, given life as watery zebras, muscular tigers, an anthropomorphized WWII fighter plane, and breathless track runners.
Brown first creates film negatives from mysterious scrawlings recovered from a university library trash can—the aching and robotic exercises of an unknown author. Brown’s subsequent use of older photographic techniques to recontextualize the images, through Cyanotype and Van Dyke processes, naturally limits his palette to a calming range of organic browns and blues, fading or deepening depending on exposure to light. He imposes a more natural and visceral world on the underlying fumbling language, as well as foiling the hyper-Photoshopped slickness of our mass-media world.