Flashback Friday, or, into the future.
After the recent events in Charlottesville, I am posting a partial image from Meet Me at the Mason Dixon: A project in painting, photography and installation that I realized during the years 2003-2009, while living and teaching in Washington, D.C.
The project in its entirety was exhibited at Schmucker Art Gallery at Gettysburg College in 2011, with a catalog and accompanying texts by Shannon Egan and Miguel de Baca. In brief, this project examines the contested legacy of race and identity from the American Civil War onward, and the sign systems that point to those fraught subjectivities and histories. It is uncanny that my initial intuition about the repressed issue of race relations before and after 9/11 was confirmed by the growing civil unrest in American cities throughout these past years. 9/11 turned the collective consciousness elsewhere, namely to a foreign invader, becoming the country’s addressee in a long, protracted war while the social fabric of American society was itself coming undone. The ongoing dispute over heritage and removal of Confederate monuments from public space highlights that the familial and cultural attachments to history are ephemeral, and subject to change with each new generation. This is the space that Meet Me at the Mason Dixon occupies. As Erika Doss wrote in a special issue of Public Art Dialogue, The Dilemma of Public Art’s Permanence, 2016, “Public art is processual, dependent on various cultural and social relationships and subject to the volatile intangibles of multiple publics and their fluctuating interests and feelings”…“Public art is not, in other words, forever.”