Vin Grabill Vin Grabill
video artist
Leaving the Ground
Leaving the Ground Driving in Mexico Driving in Mexico paintings

I made "Leaving The Ground" in 1988 following a one year's residence in central Mexico. The video depicts the notion of human flight both as an element found in certain Mexican rituals and as a universal human impulse. Sequences of air-borne humans are juxtaposed against the "grounded" context of driving in a car. The viewer perceives dream and memory excerpts traveling across the picture plane (front windshield), and these images occasionally overwhelm the driver's view, allowing possibilities of thought/flight and dream/memory to momentarily dominate. The source footage for this video derives mostly from super 8 sound film.

"Leaving The Ground" received The Stuart Rome Prize as the "Best Maryland Work" entered in the 20th Annual Baltimore Independent Film and Video Makers Competition in 1989. It's been screened in numerous other festivals nationally.

In 1990, I expanded the approach I explored when making the video "Leaving the Ground" by constructing a video installation entitled "Driving in Mexico: A Video Mural". The installation consists of 4 separate video tracks playing simultaneously over 8 TV monitors. The monitors are built into an 8' x 24' mural wall, with one small monitor set into the surface of a projector monitor.

As the first step of this project, I worked on a series of 12 paintings while I was living in Mexico, and then when I returned I made the "Leaving the Ground" video and "Driving in Mexico" installation. The paintings visualize the view of someone driving through various areas of Mexico. I built into the surface of these paintings a series of images - two Mexican lotteria cards and two lenticular photos depicting driving in the US. I wanted these images to representation the kind of distraction we sometimes have when driving - the way dream and memory can momentarily overtake our attention when driving.


©2012 Vin Grabill