HALF | LIFE
KRISTIN HATLEBERG / KATHERINE MANN / ERIK MOE
We are neighbors who work in complimentary artistic genres and we set out to document the rapidly changing landscape of the street we live on. Redevelopment plans have been transforming the culture of DC and the character of its streetscape for some time, and our street is one of the last in its corridor to be touched. What is the half-life of a neighborhood? A home? A time of day, over time?
We spent a year observing, documenting, and collaborating to create 24 works that represent life on 9 1/2 Street in Washington, DC. Each work references an hour of the day. Each started as a walking meditation, up and down the street, at each hour of the day.
We watched the workers park, the nightlife ebb, the homeless bathe, the police cars idle. We watched the clouds roll, the pansies thrive, the bats hunt. We watched the trash collect, the puddles form, the bricks crack.
Each hour was formed into a canvas, with accompanying poetic verse, photography, screendance, motif writing, and live motion. Each work is impossible to take in, in its entirety, in one moment of time. The works are composites of life observed, lived, and shared over the course of a year. Their multifarious format acknowledges reality even as it abstracts and selects.
We exhibited the full body of work in the art gallery that is the ground floor of our shared building. We offered an ongoing schedule of walks, talks, and dance performances to the community. We offered for people to take it all with them in miniature, as postcard sets and a zine. Alongside all the created work we put a reading nook, borrowed from our living rooms. Opposite that we put a table, full of trash and detritus picked up while walking home.