The Cowboy uses manipulated footage captured from several Times Square webcams to follow the Naked Cowboy, a local street performer, as he wanders through the streets amid the height of the New York COVID-19 pandemic. The footage is exaggerated in a way to the make the performer feel complete isolated, presenting a dystopian view of events that reflects the fears surrounding the pandemic.
The work touches on many other themes, including surveillance in public spaces as well as the escapism and voyeurism enabled by the internet. The major theme, however, draws from the symbolism of the cowboy, as a pinnacle of strength and masculinity. This symbol is used to comment on the feelings of isolation and loneliness that are often caused through the idolisation of the traditionally stoic, male role model.
The project was supported by the City of Melbourne's COVID-19 Quick Response Grant.
Single channel video work