What is more universal in the western world than a long stretch of road? The cement path, the struggling plants and animals that crowd in—hazard and relief, a grounding in the where of this particular stretch. And, of course, the road provides endless opportunities for metaphor: journey, solitude, companionship.
Writers sent in a wide range of poems and short prose, and what struck us was the vast range of tone that Kate's image invited. Nostalgia, anger, regret, sass, loneliness, and intellectual inquiry all voiced themselves in the work we received.
Brian Hendrickson's poem, originally titled "Hope in the Time of Finches," roared alongside the image like a semi carrying dangerous goods. It was flammable. It was real. It ranged through bluster and rage and toward doubt and hope. We loved the brash swing of the opening and how the speaker's shifts mirrored the directional shifts in Kate's art. It did what we hope for with every Broadsided collaboration: enlarged the conversation by its proximity, made light shine differently through the facets.
As with every Broadsided publication, you can read what the artist and author thought of the whole process in our Collaborators' Q&A.
Our thanks go out to all who traveled for a while with Kate Baird's "Interstate." We hope you enjoyed the journey. We hope you'll return in February when our next Switcheroo image is posted.
Elizabeth Bradfield & Mark Temelko
Notes on the Curatorial Process
All Broadsided artists were invited to submit up to three pieces of work for the Switcheroo. We then asked Helen Beckman Kaplan, Broadsided artist and the November, 2008 Switcheroo artist, to review the submissions, choosing one that she thought would be open to literary response and would work in the Broadsided format. She selected Kate Baird's piece.
Of her decision, Beckman Kaplan had this to say:
This work drew my attention with its non-specific specificity. It seems delicate and tentative while at the same time expressing a particular sense of place. The deep space seems like a series of thresholds that are being revealed to us through an unfolding of organic systems. The denuded branches and sparse flora also seem part of the unidentified logic. I like the idea of how this would wear over time if posted outdoors.
Helen Beckman Kaplan