Nevada Place Collection, ID:NP2013-003.01
Title: Misfits Flat
Creator: Unknown Creeks (seasonal/intermittent)
Related Works: The Misfits (John Huston), Displaced Replaced Mass (Michael Heizer)
Coordinates: -119.370872, 39.325951
Uses: Sculpture, Filming, Driving without Steering, Land Sailing (yachts), Growing, Evaporating
Access: Break-A-Heart Rd, Ft Churchill Rd
Setting: Noiseless, except for air moving through greasewood—a wind slowly inching the shallow water across the lakebed
10 February 2013 • 6 notes
“Did your artwork involve other people?
Are you uncomfortable with calling your artwork an artwork?
Would you rather discuss this as a project?
Did you refer to the other people involved as a community?
Have you tried to explain at length the ways in which you are defining the terms ‘involved’ and ‘other people’ and ‘community’?
Are you painfully aware that there are unavoidable power imbalances at play in this project?
Did you document the results or process of this project using a digital SLR, a camera phone, or Instagram?
Are there obvious formal possibilities for exhibiting this documentation?
Did you wonder if it would it be inappropriate to sell this documentation?
Are there power struggles immediately evident when viewing the documentation?
Have you considered trying to present this work as a book, documentary, or play?
How much pressure did you feel to defend the work as tackling political change?
Did you assume that your project needed to continue indefinitely towards achieving some political end in order for it to be successful?
Were you asked about success, measurable outcomes, attendance levels, or evidence of change?
Did you expect there to be answers to those questions?
Did your research for this project lead you to briefly attend a series of parallel community meetings at which you felt the need to excuse a comment or thought as coming from the perspective of an artist?
Did your project dissolve after a public presentation / workshop / town hall meeting / charette / or screening?
Did you feel an unresolved guilt around its dissolution?
Can your work be critiqued by a painter?
Did you feel belittled when approached by a visual artist, theoretician, or architect?
Have there been discussions of ‘radical’ theory offered from a great distance to the work?
If your project was a math equation, did the sum always end up as a critique of capitalism?
Is your project illegible enough to likely never be printed in Art Forum or your local newspaper?
Can you imagine yourself being awarded a large-scale prize some years after the launch of your project that you didn’t necessarily locate as an art project in the first place?
Could your work easily be mistaken for a project found in surveys of Fluxus, Conceptual Art, or Dada?
Did this project align itself to a set of political goals that have already been articulated?
Is there form evident in the project that would allow it to most easily fit into an identified granting opportunity?
Could your project be mistaken for a restaurant, social service, after-school program, or a guerrilla marketing campaign?
Could your role in the project being defined as that of a facilitator, organizer, or teacher?
Were you asked to explain the reason you think your project is art?”
— Methodologies of Failure: Evaluation Practices for Socially Engaged Art : Justin A. Langlois
17 January 2013
“Yonder Journal is the Adventure and Exploration of American Frontiers and Western Principles. We are Cultural Anthropologists and Sportsmen compelled into the field to explore, document, digest and publish a lasting and meaningful record of our experiences there. Through a series of Briefs, a collection of Guides and a compendium of Studies, we endeavor to understand and relate American Frontiers and Western Principles. Through discovery and documentation, Yonder exists to inspire, educate and guide.”
— Yonder Journal / Welcome
15 January 2013
a transect — Due East is a body of work based on a series of cross-country hikes that enabled me to generate visual and written notation, correspondence, interviews and historic research. The location is specific to my homeland in the San Joaquin Valley of California where I traveled due east into the foothills and Sierra Nevada Mountains on several separate occasions between 2006 and 2008.
This work is centered on the ways in which human constructs of land influence our experience of place. Within this context I have created prints that reference the graphically encoded language of conventional maps (both current and historic), and nineteenth-century Romantic landscape traditions. This wide-ranging discourse has been channeled through the undertaking of a pilgrimage in order to contemplate the way our mind frames the land and our experience of landscape. With this work I aim to demonstrate the vitality of deep-lasting human connections to land use by interweaving autobiographic and historic narratives.
Walking Due East
The field research for this suite of prints consisted of well over 200 miles of walking among the mountains near my small hometown of Dinuba, California, where I have taken a particular interest in the seemingly detached and rarely noticed backdrop of distinctive high peaks. As I walked across both public and private land – on and off roads and trails, bushwhacked through dense wild brush, swam across rivers and traversed steep mountaintops I found that my experience of the land became defined by the tight gridwork of surveyed land parcels in addition to natural barriers and steep topography. Since the 1860’s much of the foothill region has been used for farming and grazing cattle and has stayed in the hands of private landowners whose wellbeing is directly tied to the land. As a result, I had to acquire permission from protective landowners to simply walk across the land which contributed to my understanding of the geographic importance of these mountains in relation to the social dynamics of the region.
Visualizing the Land through Human Constructs
Throughout the course of my research I have found that maps, (particularly those published by governmental agencies) along with emphasizing ownership and control, imply an aspect of power over the land and its inhabitants. This region, like many others within North America, is framed by lines established in the mid-nineteenth century that unrelentingly cut straight across the land no matter how wild or steep the topography is. The land has become segmented into smaller more comprehendible portions that continually shift in ownership and jurisdiction throughout generations. This grid-work in contrast with the natural topography has played a major role in determining the way I visualize the land within a contemporary context as a contrast between humans and nature. In addition to grids, our current understanding of “wilderness” is also a construct that reinforces this contrast. For example, It is only within recent years that “man himself is a visitor who does not remain” within landscapes now classified as National Parks (as defined by the United States Wilderness act of 1964), a construct which in many cases has displaced First Nations people who previously lived in such places without the problem of pressuring the land’s resources.
In relation to landscape history, my artistic practice builds on European doctrines and discourses associated with the Romantic landscape tradition as well as Post-Modern conceptual land-based artistic practices that have shaped my perception, experience and expectations of land. For example, my aesthetic sensibility, my attention to naturalistic detail and my intrigue with exploring the land reflect the influence of nineteenth-century artist-explorers, land expeditions and survey photographers. However, my intermixing of drawings, photographs, written field notes, correspondence, and personal interviews is reflective of more contemporary influences, where fragments of various forms of research and or visual language refer to the limitations of memory, written history as opposed to oral history and loss with regard to the shifting and layered histories of the land.
My location drawings of large expanses throughout my journey serve to reinforce our land-based visual codes by the activity of transcribing the land through yet another system of careful measurements. This practice deepens my personal connection with the land, lending a sense of embodied awareness of its natural and/or unnatural characteristics. I allow the process of discovery from gathering extensive research to play out in the final compositions, where maps I have gathered are combined with my location drawings to set the stage to depict personal encounters and experiences that re-present the land through a framework that speaks of the constructs humans place on the land which, in turn, inform our experience.
— Matthew Rangel (via sarahbaugh)
13 January 2013 • 5 notes
“Mike Mandel’s and Larry Sultan’s Evidence is a collection of found and recontextualized images taken from public and private American institutions, corporations, and agencies. In 1977, after sorting through the local picture archives at a California NASA office, the young artists, just out of their graduate studies, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to continue the work in other such spaces. After sorting through a hundred archives that chronicled America’s frontier into the technologically advanced future, they carefully selected a dynamic batch of images to be sequenced loosely into a book and exhibition.”
— Mike Mandel + Larry Sultan: Evidence
3 January 2013
Jeff and I are making on-demand still lifes today at the @newmuseum! $29.99 cash ‘n carry. Here ‘til 4 or 5. Come say hi! @jbarnettwinsby
28 December 2012 • 7 notes
None of the works I have named attack directly the problem to which I wish to address myself here: what is the peculiar quality or character of the desert that distinguishes it, in spiritual appeal, from other forms of landscape? In trying to isolate this peculiarity, if it exists at all and is not simply an illusion, we must beware of a danger well known to explorers of both the micro- and the macrocosmic-that of confusing the thing observed with the mind of the observer, of constructing not a picture of external reality but simply a mirror of the thinker. Can this danger be avoided without falling into an opposite but related error, that of separating too deeply the observer and the thing observed, subject and object, and again falsifying our view of the world? There is no way out of these difficulties—you might as well try running Cataract Canyon without hitting a rock. Best to launch forth boldly, with or without life jackets, keep your matches dry and pray for the best.
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
28 December 2012 • 3 notes
“Ever since Americans have had to define what “rural” means, they have done so simply by saying what it is not. In common usage, rural is any place not populous, not developed, not easily reached by an interstate. Our national authority on demographics, the U.S. Census Bureau, classifies it merely as a remainder: “‘Rural’ encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.” That’s it.”
13 December 2012 • 1 note