I think it’s really great when artists agree to be in front of the camera on MUwDV. Many visual artists are accustomed to not being seen. Casey Smallwood is one such artist. Smallwood, an artist working often with video as a director and cinematographer, is at home behind the camera where she directs non-actors and documents and explores the sort of acting we do in daily life. We convinced Casey to do a little acting with us. As with a lot of situations with which we are less at ease, a glass of wine can help.
"I don't think there is an ultimate viewer. I think that keeps going."
Smallwood’s studio takes over the large basement of her beautifully appointed Logan Square home that she shares with her fiancé, Andrew Cantrell, her fourteen year-old cat Henry, and a dutifully protective pug named Stella. Her studio on the day of our interview was starkly different from the rest of the bright and colorful home. Along one of the studio’s walls hung a large black backdrop for a video piece she was in the process of shooting called, “The Center," which looks at artists on their road to stardom, touching on behind-the-scenes testimonials and private confessionals. The video consists of a series of interviews with artists-in-residency at the Hyde Park Art Center. Each participant sits alone in front of the camera responding to questions thrown out by Smallwood. They talk about who they identify with, who their heroes are, and, at the end, give an acceptance speech for an award they feel they deserve.
Expanding on the acting of daily life, Smallwood is currently looking into establishing a stage where acting and viewing happen at the same time within the same person. Inspired by a fiberglass man at infinite rest in a Missouri Walmart, she builds her plan for a new theater.
Smallwood is also interested in the way we work now in America. After years of being told by her parents she could be anything she wanted to be as long as she went to college, that dream lost much of its hope post-2009. It is in this unstable and uncertain job situation that she begins to ask questions about American work and how do we move on from the current moment.
We had so much fun interviewing Casey Smallwood. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Until next time,