after Bruce nauman
full floor, city views
In producing works for the gallery, I allow myself to become both a metaphor and a metonym in the manner outlined by Stuart Hall in Dee Horne's Unsettling Literature.
As a metaphor, I am an apple; as a metonym, a much broader term applies: Indi'n
As a member of the colonized on this continent, I am denied power in my endeavor to participate in the gallery system in America. [This is because] the construction of that system was created separately from that of [indigenous art production] which is often disconnected from the dominant "fine art" standard. Continuing Native traditional works are either frequently dismissed or relegated to discussions of "tourist art" which is theoretically produced to meet a market demand for "crafts of Native origin.
My work negotiates demands such as PL-101-644, issues of sovereignty, and cultural subject matter within the realm of the non-Indian art-system. It neither seeks to satisfy nor to belong to the expectations of that system; I acknowledge the presence of other Native artists who have been working in the "fine art" system [...] I also seek to negotiate their efforts.
"For the stereotype is at once a substitute and a shadow."(1) I am, via metonymy, INDI'N; the _____ Indi'n. Therefore, my paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures must tell my figurative story. I seek to overlap the differences between merely becoming a colonial mimic and an "authentic" Native individual.
(1) Homi Bhabha
after Bruce Nauman, "The Consummate Mask of Rock, 1975"
1. This is the memory of the fort hanging [allegorically.]
2. This is the memory of hanging at the fort.
3. This is to enroll.
4. This is to enroll in the hanging.
5. This is the American memory of the fort.
6. This is the authentic fort hanging in a memory.
Hanging and memory.
7. Memory and hanging allegorically recognized.
8. Federally recognized American memory.
9. Federally before allegorically.
The fort memory.
10. This is the.
11. This is the authentic American fort hanging in my interpretation.
[This is my memory.]
12. Enroll in authentic interpretation.
13. This is the interpretation of authentic.
14. This is the memory that recognized the authentic hanging.
15. This is my American interpretation of a federally recognized memory.
16. The fort interpretation allegorically recognized.
. 17. The fort is my memory.
[Memory of hanging.]
18. Hanging recognized.
19. This is allegorically hanging around the fort.
2. Berthold Indian Reservation
3. 30 Dakotas
10. Wind River Indian
full floor, city views
It was following this recent trip that I finally understood the following: I have overcome nothing. The reason is that I am never very far from the idea of the reservation.
The reservation is a referent for myself in the same way that Roland Barthes described the relationship between a photograph and its referent. “It is as if the Photograph always carries its referent with itself…[the] Photograph belongs to that class of laminated objects whose two leaves cannot be separated without destroying them both: the windowpane and the landscape, and why not: Good and Evil, desire and its object…” He states that the unrelenting presence of the referent is what defines the essence of the Photograph.
While I was on the reservation, it was as if New York did not exist. It’s always a given that reservations are the real places that do not exist, so it surprised me. On a photo shoot in a loft downtown, the photographer asked me if “preservations” still exist. I was confused (he’s originally from Greece), and he repeated the question. He knew that I identified as Native, and he wanted to know if people still live on reservations. His understanding was that the government set aside these locations in an effort to “preserve” the Native people’s lifeways.