The Way Things Can Happen
In The Way Things Can Happen (2017), extras from The Day After, a 1983 made-for-TV movie depicting a nuclear attack on Kansas, recollect their original scenes, now 34 years later. Having been filmed in the midst of the Cold War on location in Lawrence, Kansas and with a cast of five thousand locals, The Day After blurred the distinction between extras’ everyday existence and the movie and in doing so achieved the urgency and magnitude of live coverage of a national crisis - all with vast political and social implications. In their retelling of their scenes from The Day After, the extras omit references to the movie itself, further obfuscating the distinction between what happened in the film and in reality. A portrait of a city that once performed its own fictional destruction, The Way Things Can Happen queers time by stepping outside of linearity, creating a space for considering life where our country was destroyed by nuclear war and choosing a different path.
The Way Things Can Happen is both a single and multi-channel work. It has been shown at the Portland Museum of Art's 2018 Biennial as a single-channel work and at Duke University's Power Plant Gallery and Lawrence Arts Center as a multi-channel installation.
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director: Erin Johnson
director of photography: Rivkah Beth Medow
editors: and Matt Nelson and Erin Johnson
sound: Matt Nelson