It City: Modular Art Pod

The Modular Art Pods at Oz Arts, organized and juried by Tony Youngblood, was an exhibit of over 50 interactive installations that viewers walked (sometimes crawled) through that wound throughout 10,000 sq foot warehouse of this former cigar factory.


The outside wall of this structure is gilded, shiny and uniform. The interior is made up of hundreds of painted pieces, each nuanced and different, but connected. The floor is an aerial photo of the city; you’re standing in West Nashville (near Oz, the art space hosting the installation) as you enter, and move northeast towards the airport as you walk through. The sculptural shape is a funnel, allowing many visitors in at once only to compact them at the doorway to the next pod.

I began this piece thinking about the rapid growth of Nashville in the past few years, and my role in that as a transplant to the city. The truth is I have always been a transplant, moving every 3 years, but the development of a city has never felt as palpable to me as it is right now in Nashville. With over 80 people moving here every day, it seems paramount to think critically about what it means to be local to a place, but to not “be a local”.

This idea is something I’m still exploring. Now that I am here soaking in the opportunities of a vibrantly creative city, I also see the polarizing effects of development. What is my role as an artist in all this? As part of a group that is often the first signal of gentrification in neighborhoods? There is duty and a sense of responsibility in this witness, without an obvious answer or action. This piece is the beginning of the search, and a meditation on the harm of passivity.