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Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska—installation, front view. Influenced by contemporary long form cinema, fiction, and memoir and artists ranging from Marcel Duchamp to Laurie Anderson, Livingston’s ongoing multi-media installation includes painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, video, audio, text, and found objects. It is a work of auto-fiction that mines stories culled from the artists life.

TREMORS

Tremors is a video collage animation with composed sound. It uses hundreds of individual frames composed in photoshop and assembled. It is a a image and sound based tone poem exploring memory and aging. The artist ha an inherited form of essential tremor. Essential tremor is a nervous system (neurological) disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. It can affect almost any part of the body, but the trembling occurs most often in the hands. Instead of viewing it as an affliction he embraces it—videos quiver, lines shake, and his voice wavers.

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Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska. Installation detail. Video projected onto painting and objects. In the installation videos are used to project on paintings and shown on screens. Here a large painting with a white Les Paul guitar serves as the backdrop to a video that has single lines of poetic text that appear between moving images.

Witness

Witness is a video os a lone car burning in the night. It references a situation the artist saw in Houston in the late 1980's and that follow-up research revealed is common all across the country on a daily basis.

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About Jack

Baltimore City

Jack Livingston's picture
Jack Livingston is an artist, educator, and writer. His writing on arts and culture is regularly published in online and print arts journals. He has taught at many regional colleges and universities, including Maryland Institute, University of Maryland at College Park, and Johns Hopkins University. He is currently an adjunct professor at Towson University.  His work is in The Menil Collection in Houston and many indiviual collections around the country.   He was born in 1953 in far west... more

Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska - Installation

Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska is an ongoing large-scale multimedia installation that presents a fractured memoir that draws on the American West and the counter-culture experience of the past half century. The artist uses this format to exhume a rich cultural and personal history, full of revelation and myriad contradictions. Livingston grew up in the region and lived there for most of his life.

The installation includes audio, video, sound, found objects, photographs, painting, drawing, and creative writing.

Note: Many of the artist's family have an inherited form of  essential tremor. Essential tremor is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. It can affect almost any part of the body, but the trembling occurs most often in the hands . As the artist ages, he has essential tremors. He embraces it. Throughout the work presented he retains evidence of this. Videos quiver, lines shake, paint  is raked, and the sound of his voice wavers .

Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska - Installation

The large-scale multimedia installation can be installed in a variety of ways. Here a small backroom is used with a single video with sound. In the entrance there is a portrait of the artists daughter from the early 1970's, printed on see through silk fabric, hung from the ceiling. Throughout the exhibition there are others depicted in this way. They are people the artist's life from the era. They are frozen in time, see through and gauzy. Some still alive, some not. Most appear in the text.

Included are  found objects collected from the sides of highways and roads, debries from the artist's travel and his exploration of car culture. Post accident  car parts, shredded rubber from tires flug off massive trucks moving at high speed, chunks of broken roadway and rebar. These readymades are full of dignity and beauty, tailmans of the everyday that often go unnoticed.

There are guitars placed throughout the exhibition with places for visitors to sit. The audience is invited to use them. Guitars were seminal to change within the counterculture of the past decades. Instruments that when electrified through amps make a massive sound— mimicking the industrial world, the war machine, the changing mechanized world. They are the most democratic of instruments. Easy to learn to play, affordable, and iconic.

The sound used on videos and in the installation is created by Livingston using avante methods including alt-tuning, feedback, and multi-tracking (influenced by new music and conceptual performance). This can be explored in real time by the artist, visitors, and by guest sound/artists who can bring their own take on the materials and the ideas presented.

Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska - Writing

The Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska installation includes text not only in the work and videos, but a series of short stories published together in a book of the same title. Like the exhibiton, which changes in each installation the book is published in small editions which include differing stories depending on the show.

There are future plans to publish everything together in a final book combining image and text. The stories are also recorded to audio, read by the author, and played in discreet locations within the exhibtion.

The short stories are all auto fiction based on aspects of the artists life and personal history.

  • Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska Book Cover

    Book cover (front and back) for Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska
  • Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska

    Auto-fiction short story from the book that accompanies the exhibition.

    When a family moves, an anxiety ridden young teenager leaves Denver and drives to Hannibal, Missouri with the wild older sister he admires.

    PDF icon Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska
  • Author reading Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska

    Author reading Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska. First story from the book of text and audio that plays in the installation. When a family moves, an anxiety ridden young teenager leaves Denver and drives to Hannibal, Missouri with the wild older sister he admires.
  • Racing Towards Dawn

    Auto fiction short story from Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska read by the artist. Two friends race through an overnight thousand mile drive between Denver and Chicago that have have made many times before. Their complicated lives are explored through memory and conversation.
  • It's All Over Now

    Auto-fiction short story from Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska. Text version.

    On his twenty first birthday, a troubled young man agrees to a party given by two sisters. It turns into a much larger more complicated event than anyone involved considered.

    PDF icon It's All Over Now
  • It's All Over Now

    Auto fiction short story from Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska read by the artist. On his twenty first birthday, a troubled young man agrees to a party given by two sisters. It turns into a much larger more complicated event than anyone involved considered.
  • Trouble

    Auto fiction short story from Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska. Text version.

    True story of  a young person who deals with a dilemma when a  school overseen by an ultra right-wing board decides to remove students for their beliefs under the guise of how how they look. 

    PDF icon Trouble
  • Magnetic Fields

    Auto fiction short story from Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska. Text version.

    Two aimless young men go to work in a grim factory outside of Chicago.

    PDF icon Magnetic Fields
  • Swimming (Houston 1980s and 1990s)

    Auto fiction short stories from Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska. Text version.

    An extended story with four sections — each focusing on a differing person from the Houston art scene.

    PDF icon Swimming (Houston 1980s and 1990s)

Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska - Photography

Photographs of cars in western landscapes from the multimedia installation Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska.

Driving across the region is a key motif repeated in the exhibition. The artist has photographed many areas discussed from cars throughout his life. To replicate some the key locations, he was depicting he began to use small cars and google maps to travel back to key locations. He found by placing the cars in front of screens he could capture a sense of the landscape while toying with a sense of reality and playfulness.

He also began using old slides he had taken and collected over the years, digitizing them, and producing them in large formats.

  • Plymouth Fury III

    Plymouth Fury III in Nebraska landscape.
  • Black Convertible in Western Nebraska

    Photo of car in western landscape.
  • Chevy Impala in Nebraska Storm

    Photograph of Chevy Impala in Nebraska storm.
  • Rambler Station Wagon in Nebraska

    Photograph of Rambler Station Wagon in Nebraska.
  • Larimer Square 1969

    Larimer Square 1969 - (From the window of Plymouth Fury III) - large format photograph. Larimer was an area in downtown Denver that was the skid row of the area. It is now a tourist area. It sits near the railroad line and is a place many people who lived outside the mainstream culture congregated. My friends and I spent a lot of time in the area as a child and until it's redevelopment. This is the area where Neal Cassidy, the main character of jack Kerouac's On the Road grew up.
  • South Platte River - 1969

    South Platte River - 1969 - large format photograph. L Denver, Colorado sits on banks of The South Platte River. I lived near here by Ralston Creek, one of many small tributaries that flow from the mountains into the river. There are many references to this region both in the text, and in paintings, and photographs I took before the region was developed into one big suburbia.

Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska - Paintings

Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska is a a "modular" installation. It can be exhibited in many forms, large and small. It could be in a closet or fill a museum gallery.

A part of the modules include a variety of series of paintings on paper and canvas.

These paintings take many forms. A number are dark abstractions based on what the flat western landscape of the great plains looks like at night  from car windows and trains. The land rushes by, blurred in the distance, marks seen on signs and on the highway. The prairie grasses and crops fly by in magnificent patterns, broken by side roads and signage. Various animals are glimpsed. Thoughts are depicted through words scralwed on the surface.
 

Falling Off the End of Nebraska — Paintings

There area variety of subsets of paintings in Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska.

The Reflector Series are created silver paint and  reflector micro beads enbedded in layers of  clear medium. The micro beads are the type  used in highway signs. They light up in bright reflection when hit by car lights. These paintings change in light as the viewer moves in front of them.

The Highway Estatic Series  are painted with industrial yellow highways paint. They depict images drawn from the figurative style of highway signs to depict singular persons in various states of “being” and “ecstatic experience”. Elsewhere the same figures crop up as ciphers within landscapes.

The Car Series are a number of large paintings of automobiles that are  are similar to those once owned by the artist over his life, all reference in text and elesewhere in the exhibition. These painting are often combined with objects and some are used to project video on.

  • Reflector

    Reflector - silver spray paint, micro-reflector beads. clear acrylic medium. 20 " x 48" From a series.
  • Falling Man

    Falling Man - Highway Ecstatics Series. Industrial yellow highways paint and acrylic on paper 38" x 50" This series depicts images drawn from the figurative style of highway signs and depict people in various states of “being” and “ecstatic experience”.
  • Struck - Highway Ecstatic

    Struck - Highway Ecstatics Series. Industrial yellow highways paint and acrylic on paper 38" x 50" This series depicts images drawn from the figurative style of highway signs and depict people in various states of “being” and “ecstatic experience”.
  • Run - Highway Ecstatic

    Run - Highway Ecstatics Series. Industrial yellow highways paint and acrylic on paper 38" x 50" This series depicts images drawn from the figurative style of highway signs and depict people in various states of “being” and “ecstatic experience”.
  • Stop - Highway Ecstatic

    Stop — Highway Ecstatics Series. Industrial yellow highways paint and acrylic on paper 38" x 50" This series depicts images drawn from the figurative style of highway signs and depict people in various states of “being” and “ecstatic experience”.
  • Plymouth Fury / Airline Guitar

    Plymouth Fury / Airline Guitar - combine painting. acrylic on canvas with charcoal and found object. 6' x 6'
  • Chevy Impala

    Chevy Impala - acrylic and charcoal on canvas 6' x 6'.

Falling Off the Edge of Nebraska - Video

The exhibition includes a number of short experimental videos that combine text, sound, moving and still image. All sound used in the video is created by the artist using instruments included in the installation. The videos are presented on  high defintion screens and projected onto canvas and objects.

  • Witness

    Witness is a video os a lone car burning in the night. It references a situation the artist saw in Houston in the late 1980's and that follow-up research revealed is common all across the country on a daily basis.
  • TREMORS

    Tremors is a video collage animation with composed sound. It uses hundreds of individual frames composed in photoshop and assembled. It is a a image and sound based tone poem exploring memory and aging. The artist ha an inherited form of essential tremor. Essential tremor is a nervous system (neurological) disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. It can affect almost any part of the body, but the trembling occurs most often in the hands. Instead of viewing it as an affliction he embraces it—videos quiver, lines shake, and his voice wavers.
  • First Wed

    Short video that include super eight mm film, high definition video, text, and sound created with the instruments that are included in the installation. The artist collects old super eight mm film. He relates to era most depict and culls them for scenes. Here a early 60's wedding is combined with present era video taken from cameras mounted on his car.
  • Some Kind of River

    Short video poetic collage made from video and images shot by others and sent to the artist, along with found images, text, and sound. It is based upon the story of a woman as she returns to her home town near Chicago after leaving decades before as soon as her children were grown.

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Jack's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.