Within Our Gates

site-specific installation: video with sound, 2008

McCallum & Tarry were commissioned by the non-profit organization Atlanta Celebrates Photography to create a site-specific installation in an abandoned water tower in Atlanta's forth ward, the neighborhood that Dr. Martin Luther King lived and worked in. The work contributed to Atlanta’s effort to examine the legacy of Dr. King 50-years after his assassination.

“Within Our Gates” consists of three components, two audio pieces and a film. The video, in collaboration with two audio pieces activates the tiresome architecture and transforms the utilitarian space into a passionate and dynamic expression of the confrontation between past and present. The first audio clip is a recording of Governor George Wallace’s speech, “The Civil Rights Movement: Fraud, Sham and Hoax” given on July, 4, 1964. The speech gives a segregationist point of view as Wallace repeatedly questions the Patriotism of his people in response to the Civil Rights Bill. 

Upon entering the water tower, the viewer’s sight is momentarily lost in the darkness; however, senses are slowly regained as the sound of the water below becomes muffled with the steady resonance of Imani Uzuri’s chilling rendition of “Freedom.” With the realization of the historically significant video playing on the walls of the water tower, the viewer is immediately transported to a different time and place.  

For McCallum & Tarry, this work examines where they stand in relation to their past and their future, to their parents and their son. It is a work of vessels and thresholds, physical and metaphoric, about discovering a past that they know but whose tenor is elusive.

Water Tower Water Tower