The ghost in your house

Ryan Sarah Murphy – New York City USA



While on a meandering, early-2020 drive around the back roads of the town I grew up in, I happened upon a neighbourhood of newly constructed McMansion-style homes. This new development consisted of streets dotted with cul-de-sacs and connected by bloated, cookie-cutter architecture atop freshly manicured lawns and driveways. I drove slowly through these streets, recording the sequential stretch of houses while the late afternoon sun hovered above. I was struck by the aspirational-grandeur of these super-sized homes and how on the surface they seemed to typify the great “American Dream” of homeownership and its guarantee of security and plenitude.

But what hung most heavily in the air was this nascent sense of fear and uncertainty, brought about by this looming global pandemic. Everyone was hidden away indoors and there was an overriding sense that these beautiful dwellings alone could not protect their inhabitants from the threat of this mysterious, airborne virus. Starting with the original video of this neighbourhood tour, I intuitively colour-altered and edited the piece to reflect the frightening tone of this particular time. Garish pixilation and jarring glitches carry the viewer through from the first corner-lot to the end of the road.




Ryan Sarah Murphy is a visual artist living and working in New York City. Her cross-disciplinary practise is process-driven and incorporates video, sculpture, mixed media works on paper and photography. Ryan is a recipient of an NYFA Fellowship Grant (2014), a Working Artist Grant (2018), and she has held residencies at 77 Arts, I-Park Foundation, and The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and internationally. Permanent collections include the Foundation Center (New York) and the Holter Museum of Art (Montana).