Leslie Deere is currently producing a series of audio visual pieces using sound and images gathered from America’s Deep South, where she was born and raised. Travelling Section uses found VHS footage, consisting purely of slow sweeping landscape shots of the Smokey Mountains. She combines the images with impromptu field recordings, many of which feature audio from local radio stations.
The saturated colours, the narrow low vantage point of the camera and the sublime mountainous landscape position it within the Romantic tradition. Alongside it, the radio functions as a social and cultural marker, seemingly innocuous yet starkly revealing of place and attitude.
Drawing inspiration from the writers of the Southern Gothic genre, Deere’s representation borrows heavily from themes found within the literature. She appropriates the authors’ personal narratives, local history and stereotypes associated with the region.
The use of found material encourages the development of an ambiguous third space between what we hear and what we perceive to be true. Deere deals with her past through metaphor, though which she subtly negotiates both the viewer’s expectations and her own. From her position as both insider and outsider the artist offers us a study of society that is mocking and amusing, yet which ultimately resists moral censure.