4k video, 10 minutes, 9 seconds, displayed on two 5′ x 15′ video panels
Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport – Main Terminal, Louisville, Kentucky, 2019 – 2020
supported by Chandler Campbelle & Daschle and the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport
From the middle of the19th to the middle of the 20th Century, economic and political factors led millions of Europeans to immigrate the United States in search of a better life, including to Louisville, where German, Irish and other European immigrants joined Indigenous Peoples, freed slaves of African descent, and settlers of English and French ancestry. Through hard work and advocacy for laborers’ rights, these immigrants and ancestors of immigrants in the first half of the 20th Century helped pave the way for the development of the American middle class. Similarly, since World War II, a complexity of influences have led people from all over the world to come to the United States in search of economic sustainability and freedom from religious, racial, and political persecution, including Louisville, where they play a vital role in the support and advancement of prosperous industries.
Overlaying animated graphics, found film, and archival materials, Only a Dream Away, presents how modes of travel historically and currently connect Louisvillians with communities and cultures around the world. All following paths to Louisville, animated steamship, railroad, highway and flight routes are combined with graphics representing historical immigration to the United States, including the artist’s great-grandmother’s path to citizenship in the early 20th Century, and maps of countries from which many Louisvillians emigrate today. Blending the historical and modern routes that immigrants have taken to reach the United States and Louisville, this artwork presents the commonalities that most Americans have in ancestral migration and celebrates the cultural and economic significance of immigration in Louisville and the United States today.
This project was made possible in part by The Filson Historical Society, Louisville, KY.
Image and film credits: The Filson Historical Society, Louisville, KY, The United States Library of Congress, and The United States National Archives.