Anticipating working in New York, Miranda Bellamy knew she wanted to take a slightly different approach to how she had been working. Responding to historical events through specific sites was an important and deliberate shift in focus.

Preliminary research involved identifying sites around the city where trans-people had been the victims of hate crime. Through site visits and further research, Miranda was able to refine the locations I would respond to down to two. These sites were significant due to their prominent public locations, and the nature of the crimes being motivated by the victims status as transgender.

In responding to these sites she became detail focused, turning to the sidewalk itself. The surface texture, grit and grime, and traces of human presence all had stories to tell. Miranda sought to draw out the experiences contained in these surfaces. Using a methodical process of capturing and stitching hundreds of digital photographs, she have created two scroll-like photographs that are resolved in extremely high detail. The first image is of Frederick Douglas Boulevard, near 148th St, Harlem. The other is outside Port Authority Bus Terminal near 8th avenue & 43rd St. The photographs are not recognizably these locations, instead they’re characterized by normalcy and familiarity. It is through these sites being contextualized with research that they are activated as crime scenes where trans-people lost their lives at the hand of hate.

The way these two images are designed to be installed in a gallery space is by printing them on a smooth adhesive vinyl and sticking them to the floor. The images are printed at true 1:1 scale, so what the viewer experiences in the exhibition space is effectively a replicated slice of the Manhattan sidewalk.

The displacement of these sidewalks, that once were the canvas for unimaginable violence invokes a sombre agitation. The work pays quiet homage to those individuals who met their end at these sites. It seeks to interrupt the safety of the gallery space, quietly bring the outside in, and include trans and queer narratives. 

In parallel with creating these displaced sidewalks, Miranda undertook a double exposure film photography project. Through collaborating with Emily Hlaváč Green, she invited the experience and inventiveness of a photographer she highly respect to contribute her vision to the project.

We shot on 35mm film using a double exposure technique, working in two stages. First we undertook a studio shoot, capturing details of my body from various perspectives. These became the under-layer for a series of site specific photographs taken in sites around Manhattan. These sites were chosen for their significance to specific historical events that were important markers for the New York, and worldwide LGBTQI+ community.

Owing to the mode of production the results were unpredictable, and embraced the possibility of unforeseen elements. Working in the two-step approach allowed me to locate myself and my personal experience at the core of these site-experiments.

ABOUT Miranda Bellamy

Miranda Bellamy is an artist and filmmaker. She has a multifaceted artistic practice that consists of sculpture, installation, video, photography, and works on paper. Bellamy’s art is technically proficient, intricately complex and highly refined. It has often investigated social fantasies, specific environments and the technologies that surround us. Her practice is currently recalibrating to explore personal narratives of becoming. 

Bellamy hails from New Zealand, where she has worked and exhibited extensively. She has attended residencies and created projects internationally.