Review by Samantha Nicole Grenier
‘No, it’s—no I’m saying don’t focus, hey, you got a good story, there’s a lot of stories in the south, maybe you need a, maybe you need to deal with that, and I mean like fightin’ and all that shit’s fun but like there’s a lot of other stories, like good stories, too, out there, you know what I’m saying?’
‘She’s just trying to focus on the people she grew up with in Gainesville.’
In response to a vexing episode of This American Life entitled The Georgia Rambler, Micki Davis, through the Gravity and Trajectory project formed by Christopher Kardambikis and Louis M. Schmidt in 2010, produced Ramble on the Upslope/ Ramble on the Downslope. Absent of any background knowledge on the work of Micki Davis, I encountered the collection of casual, pre-recorded statements and stories that seemed to be coming from familiar people, a stuttering beauty achieved only through the raw extraction of voice recordings.
These snippets of text accompanied by video still-images are powerful in their ambiguous composure, and upon my first reading of the book, I felt like I hadn’t really been reading, but listening. Gravity and Trajectory allows artists and curators to treat the page as an opportunity to format a piece, and to show work “within the book format.” I find that Ramble on the Upslope/ Ramble on the Downslope is a piece that acts not only as a collection of photographs and text, but also as an anthology documenting the people and essence of Gainesville, Georgia.
Intrigued by the book, and hungry for more background knowledge on it’s author and it’s odd format, I researched Micki Davis and watched videos on her website. They had the same, raw authenticity.
A friend once invited me to join her in taking the train to random stops, filming people we had never met, encouraging them to speak about whatever had happened that day. A lot of what we discovered were differences in priorities, in the definition of “eventfulness,” and the disappointment in discovering that the people we were speaking to were not interested in living the spontaneous lives we were. The giddy excitement of it all still remained.
Micki Davis, Ramble on the Upslope/ Ramble on the Downslope, (Gravity and Trajectory, 2010)
Images: Cover and interior of Ramble on the Upslope/ Ramble on the Downslope