Segway tour, Treme, New Orleans

97674069

Description: One screen, digital video installation with ambient audio
Exhibition Mode: Projection or monitor, continuous loop
Media Details: 720p HD (16:9) 1280 × 720   

This is a video about skill acquisition.
This is a video about aliens in an unfamiliar landscape.
This is a video about horizontality.
This is a video about watching and being watched. 

But first, this is a video about tourists in a tourist city. A tour group assemble in front of a brightly painted café in the Tremé district of New Orleans. The setting is at once both caricature and reality; the real life of the city and its residents as encountered by a two-wheeling Segway tour.

Hayward's camera holds steady as the riders zig and zag uncertainty; baby animals taking their first steps. It's both hilarious and joyful to watch. The motion of the Segway is innately ridiculous (too upright by half, and futuristic in a not-quite-right way) but I almost applauded as one and then the next rider found their equilibrium and rolled slowly forward.  

At one point a woman turns her Segway towards the camera, realizes she's being documented, and gives a jaunty wave. The moment of eye contact is jarring at first, until you realize that the wave is one of recognition - a greeting from one tourist to another. For who wields a camera in New Orleans but a tourist?

- Kelly Pendergrast, Film and Video curator