The Johnny Cash Project (h/t to Viz.)

Johnny Cash Project Screen ShotScreen Shot of The Johnny Cash Project

Over at the more general visual rhetoric website Viz., blogger Cate Blouke has a great post about The Johnny Cash Project (a post that we recommend you also read).  I’ve even stolen her screenshot as the image for this post.  Blouke characterizes the web-based project as an undertaking of “communal remembering,” and that seems like a very accurate description. The site is “built” by the contributions of visitors, who can contribute drawings of Cash to the site that are then incorporated into a dynamic (as in changing) version of one of Cash’s final videos, “Ain’t No Grave.”  And, in fact, the site and its ever-changing content are testament to the fact that, true to the song, no grave can keep Cash’s body down, at least not the body of his music catalog, which is undoubtedly one of the most important 20th Century contributions to American music.

Cash, who hailed from the now-largely-defunct cotton town of Dyess, Arkansas, always remained an advocate of rural people and rural ways of life.  The Johnny Cash Project seems like a fitting tribute to a man with populist tendencies and who always maintained his affinity for working people and, as he called them, “country people.” Cash actually revisited Dyess for the filming of the Rick Rubin produced video “Hurt” (Cash appears in Dyess at the 1:55 to about 2:15 marks in the video, but the return was obviously earlier in Cash’s life, and later incorporated into Ruben’s video).

Hat tip to Cate Blouke and Viz. for bringing this wonderful web project to our attention.

Nate Kreuter

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