Siren Call | Statement
This body of work is the result of my 2016 and 2017 summer residencies at The Volland Store, an exhibition space inhabiting a 1913 general store in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. The resulting 2018 exhibition featured a series of photographs of small-town tornado sirens made in rural Kansas with pictures from Texas and New England - all part of the larger body of work We Have to Count the Clouds.
The sirens struck me as a perfect example of the way we mitigate our relationship to the natural world: a warning system, a necessity to survival, a central, if mostly quiet, part of the built environment. The search for sirens became the perfect excuse to explore a landscape previously unfamiliar to me. Each and every town–no matter how sparse the population–has it own beacon of defense, a visual reminder of the threat of extreme weather to the inhabitants of the plains.
While the motivation for making these photographs was the hunt for tornado sirens, they reveal adjacent details about the small towns of Kansas. Despite their near absence, the subject of the photographs is the people who live here, their closeness to the landscape, and the shift in the way of life, caused by changing agricultural practices, which has taken place since the middle of the last century.