< back to index
Otis Ike and Ivete Lucas (Austin, TX), Ivanhoe, Virginia, digital video, 2009
Otis Ike and Ivete Lucas
Outside the Green Belt
Outside the Green Belt is a selection of photographs and videos by Otis Ike and Ivete Lucas extracted from their deep submersion in the post Walmart rural landscape of placelessness. Mr. Ike is interested in common people persevering through hardships, chaos and living on the outskirts of the glamour culture in temporary manufactured space. This place, held outside of the polished aesthetic of the modern, lends itself to be perceived as simple and even uncomposed to casual observation. To oppose notions of imagery as game, Ike and Lucas create work by placing themselves in communities on long-term volunteer projects as a process to discover sacred places. Through these interactions, an environment is created in which documentation is a natural occurrence of relationships that have formed.
This practice is represented in work from Ivanhoe, VA. Ivanhoeis a study on a community that has subsisted through the woes of ecological transformation and abandonment by industry. A mining town in a valley where the New River meets the Appalachian Mountains, Ivanhoe was both blessed and cursed by its natural wonders. It is Appalachian folklore that their fortune changed when famed traveling preacher Bob Sheffey stood at the highest hillside, took off his shoes and cursed the town to sink into the pits of hell for its excessive drinking, fighting and abohorrance of things Godly. The exchange was a precursor for exploited nature to reclaim its boundary as the industrial age came to an end in Ivanhoe. The documentation explores what the composition man has left behind. Central to the post-industrial Ivanhoe is the ritualistic observation of July 4th which signifies the biblical Jubilee year of pardon. Here for a few days Eden is rediscovered and man make peace with nature.
The work selected for Outside the Green Belt shows exhausted bodies and commoditized landscapes. Human beings trying to shape, change and tame the environment to ensure their survival. The consequences are masked by freedom where anything can be programmed, transformed and made visually pleasing.
Otis Ike (b. 1976) is a self-taught photographer, documentary film director and builder born in New York, NY. His eclectic selection of film-based cameras originates from actively engaging in the DIY punk rock and street art movements in Philadelphia and San Francisco where he lived in the 1990s. From 2004 through 2007, Otis built art installations in the U.S. and Europe for artists Barry McGee, and his wife Clare Rojas. In 2005, Ike moved to the Gulf Coast to participate in voluntary service as a construction supervisor for Mennonite Disaster Service, building new homes in the Southern Louisiana bayous and eventually migrated West to Austin, TX. In 2009, his exhibition Libres y Lokas with Ivete Lucas was acclaimed in several art journals including the Art Lies, Fall 2009 issue. Otis, with co-director Ivete Lucas, was awarded the top grant from the 2010 Texas Filmmakers Production Fund to complete post-production on a feature length documentary about Vietnam War reenactors called Vietnam Appreciation Day. Otis Ike is currently researching disaster relief systems in the graduate architecture program's Masters of Sustainable Design at the University of Texas at Austin
Ivete Lucas (b. 1983) is a filmmaker and audiovisual artist born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. She is noted for her 2009 work Libres y Lokas: el espectaculo de la pobreza, a collaboration with artist OTIS IKE, which focuses on the intersections between drag queens and lucha libre wrestlers from Monterrey’s underground. In 2010, her video installations and short films were installed at the MexicArte museum in Austin, Richland College Gallery in Dallas, and Flight Gallery in San Antonio. Her short film Asma was released nationally in Mexican movie theaters. She is currently a fellow of the Mexican Fund for the Culture and the Arts (FONCA) and is obtaining an MFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Texas at Austin.