Driving Through Flyover Country
Flyover Country, the moniker given to the middle part of America that so many people view as boring that it is simply flown over while going from one coast to the other, to places where much more interesting things happen. From above it appears as a monotonous quilt of sectioned off square miles stretching from horizon to horizon, Jefferson’s grid system being perfectly suited for the relatively flat landscape of the Midwest. What can’t be seen from a plane however is the details and the people that make Flyover Country much more interesting than it first seems.
Flyover Country is perhaps one of the most misunderstood parts of America. Some have a negative view, seeing it as home to over-zealous religious types, gun racks, Wal-Marts, and nothing really to see (other than Mt. Rushmore); alternatively some have a romanticized version of Flyover Country, one of quaint and prosperous small towns, friendly farmers on antique tractors, and the American cowboy riding a horse into the sunset. The truth is far more complex than a few ugly stereotypes or a Terry Redlin painting.
This project explores the complex people and places of Flyover Country. There are quaint small towns, but there are also towns where every building is boarded up; there is no one archetype that represents the people living in Flyover Country, the personalities are as diverse as any large city; there is a subtle beauty to the landscape, if you can learn to appreciate how it’s different from mountains and forests; and there are indeed Wal-Marts. These are the details that can’t be seen from 40,000 feet, which is why I prefer to drive through Flyover Country.