"What if... Philip Marlowe" is a project inspired by the hard-boiled detective who narrates Raymond Chandler’s crime novels. These noir stories imagine a gritty urban environment of 1940s America. I used Chandler’s evocative descriptions of place and Marlowe’s internal monologue as an entry point to imagine Marlowe as a painter/collector. What if he wasn't only consumed by solving crimes, what might he do in his spare time when not on a case? Would it be much different than sitting in a studio messing with things that might be clues? The idea of a private investigator is not dissimilar to certain kind of artistic studio practice - piecing together meaning/narrative with elements that by themselves may appear insignificant or incidental.

Chandler’s alternately lush and desolate atmosphere is created by the paired down interiority of the main character and the acutely rendered observations of place and of the senses: visual, physical, olfactory and aural. This is punctuated by a quality of time that seems to both unfold and be static simultaneously.


As part of Open Sessions at the Drawing Center in 2015  I used the poet Clark Coolidge's A Book Beginning What and Ending Away,  while on my own nocturnal explorations of Inwood Hill Park in upper Manhattan, Coolidge's tome functioned as a sort of guide book and dis/organizing device in an evolving installation that included durational readings, note-taking and performance activities throughout the course of the exhibition. Additionally a selection of drawings, writings and other documents chosen in response to Coolidge's text were presented in vitrines.
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