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Book of the Week: A Pick by Christian Michael Filardo

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Christian Michael Filardo Christian Michael Filardo selects Married to America by Justin Clifford Rhody as Book of the Week.
Married to AmericaBy Justin Clifford Rhody Hidden Eye, 2017.
Christian Michael Filardo picks Married to America by Justin Clifford Rhody from Hidden Eye as Book of the Week.

"The road is wide and narrow. It carves its way from coast to coast, from one end of the country to the other. Some vehicles meander from place to place, while others rip through the air as their tires kiss the asphalt. Often when I imagine the great American highway, I think, 'come see it.' I find myself curious, about what 'it' could be. Who put it there? In Married to America by Justin Clifford Rhody we follow Rhody, and a few touring musicians, on a journey determined by the highways of freedom.

The long arduous drive from city to city, the mundane vast sprawl of nothing, a large Waffle House sign (a shimmering yellow beacon of breakfast.) Rhody is a special kind of subtle; he likes to switch from being a documentarian to being a mythmaker and does so rather seamlessly. He’s showing us the facts and asking us the questions. Pulling meaning from the esoteric, he juxtaposes the ludicrous and the gorgeous. Aware of his comrades, Rhody documents them both with mouth agape above microphone. He shows us the fog rolling in on the edge of a clearing.

Perhaps, 'it' is just a dream — podcast laden, and gasoline heavy. A tour with your friends, a different floor every night, the Earth shattering realization that arrives while slouching in a swivel chair, that feeling that arrives after days in the car. 'THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE' printed in all caps black text on a dirty towel, pinned on the wall above an image of a stallion galloping forward. Rhody pairs this photograph with a poster of a scary blue 3D rendered humanoid creature held into a wood laminate wall with transparent pushpins. An ancient Egyptian slab follows a decaying Pat Boone relic.

Rhody shows us the forgotten garlic and the claw of a villain that kills you in your sleep, both the same color as a George Washington head cast in tin. Who is the culprit that put that awful light bulb in that beautiful chandelier? What happens in this book is exciting, Rhody illustrates his path, he machetes through the forest that is the American road and shows us the beautiful and unusual fruit found deep within the crevices of this country. Married to America is a triumph because it reminds you that life is full of wonder. That 'it' is something attainable. He reminds us that this isn’t just a computer simulation, but rather a decadent world best explored regardless of the situation."  — Christian Michael Filardo

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Married to AmericaBy Justin Clifford Rhody Hidden Eye, 2017.

Married to AmericaBy Justin Clifford Rhody Hidden Eye, 2017.

Christian Michael Filardo is a Filipino-American composer and photographer living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He recently had a solo exhibition called Tumbleweed Replica at Current Space in Baltimore, MD and is the current shipping manager at photo-eye bookstore.

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