Conceived in 2013, The Sanford-Johnson Trail is a daily meditation, a participatory trail, an archive, a book, an exhibition, a response to the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford Florida, and a look at its impact on the small town of Johnson Vermont. The project documents my daily walking practice through the town of Johnson, and the participation of community members on these walks, as a way to reflect on the broader impacts of racial violence, and its underlying presence, in American towns.
Forthcoming book with Rough Beast.
At times, I felt like an activist, defiant, in solidarity with the protestors. At other times, I saw myself as someone coming home from the convenience store, or as someone following someone, or as someone being followed. I watched my own feet stride across the ground. I watched my own head look over my shoulder. I watched my breath turn to vapor. I felt my neck bristle. These weren’t choices so much as ways of being that emerged as the walks went on. I imagined my body as a vessel, filled, emptied, and refilled with a diversity of selves.
I didn’t walk as Trayvon or as Zimmerman, or assume to know the experience of those distant lives. I walked as myself, as an observer of the story as it lived in this place, or, rather, between two places. Zimmerman, Trayvon, family, gated communities, Florida, guns, race, surveillance, law, Vermont—I began to uncover what I thought was a throughline, a track from one place to the other.