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Willie Ray Parish

Mobile Camera Obscura
Posted on: March 11, 2011

Over my 35 years of making sculpture, I have on occasion made work using classic travel trailers. I am currently renovating a small aluminum teardrop trailer in collaboration with photographer Scott McMahon, who is doing a residency at the Border Art Residency, which I host on my property in Mesilla Valley in southern Doña Ana County. The 1955 trailer, recently stripped of a half-century of paint, will be polished so its history will be visible in the surface’s imperfections. The recently gutted interior will be insulated and finished with wooden walls and floors and bearings will be renewed for better mobility. The finished piece will become a mobile camera obscura with external imagery cast in reverse on an interior table.

Funding would be used for materials such as: bearings, tires, insulation, paneling, flooring, subflooring, welding materials for frame repair, polishing compound, and table construction.

We hope to exhibit the Parish-McMahon Mobile Camera at Scott’s “ of residency” exhibition in April along with the numerous camera constructions he is making during his stay. The camera components will be created by McMahon, while I design and direct the construction process.

Where my previous trailer pieces, shown in galleries and museums, appealed to an audience familiar with contemporary media and issues, this collaboration will be more accessible to a general audience as it will be presented in differing contexts, both rural and urban. My trailer’s presence on the property of the Border Art Residency will also bring additional public awareness to that program. I envision this mobile camera obscura being used in front of museums or at special public events.


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