The photographer Jeff Wall meditated in his essay, ‘About Making Landscapes’,
“A picture of a cemetery is, theoretically at least, the ‘perfect’ type of landscape. The
inevitably approaching, yet unapproachable, phenomenon of death, the necessity of
leaving behind those who have passed away, is the most striking dramatic analogue
for the distant, but not too distant- viewing position identified as ‘typical’ of the
landscape. We cannot get too distant from the graveyard.”
The photographs are paired with a video of me lip-synching the Lord’s Prayer.
There is a phenomenon on YouTube of videos of young children praying. Their prayers are strange, beautiful and unsettling. The fact of their prayers existing in
a public domain is also strange, beautiful and unsettling. Something about it feels
like a message in a bottle hurled across the Internet, waiting to be found. In lip-
synching this prayer I wanted to become like the photographs, a vessel of a kind
of earthly presence, one that has the dust of religion lingering around it but has
replaced it with something else. The Lord’s Prayer, like the lyrics to a famous song,
is recognizable but oftentimes-said wrong. For whatever reason, she (the young girl praying in the original video) got the words to the prayer wrong, and in her tiny error ended up changing the meaning of the prayer. Earth replaces heaven, rupturing the past, allowing for something new.