AMERICAN DREAMER: a Radical Revisionist’s Living Archive – PERFORMANCES FOR CAMERA + RESEARCH WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
National Park & Missile Range Tourism
FULL VIDEO LINK ABOVE
In the summer and fall of 2019, I carried out endurance performances at White Sands National Park and Missile Range. These unsanctioned performances were witnessed by tourists and park rangers as I performed for them while shooting myself with a still and video camera. The sun was direct and reflected off the gypsum dunes. There were high winds and temperatures exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). As I became my own “stunt double” or stunt solo in a green chroma key suit, I manually tumbled my body holding tightly to a large tumbleweed above my head. I rolled westward across the crushed and uneven gypsum dunes for 4-5 hours a day. The land was dangerously remote, extremely dry, and without cell phone signal. It became disorienting due to the heat and reflective quality of the gypsum “sand”. Taking many breaks was necessary for water, snacks, and to resettle my eyeballs after the sun-strobe afterimage effects. The dunes create low visibility which makes it difficult to see the horizon line, and high winds erase all of my footprints. It was challenging to re-find my car, venturing too far in the stunning 224 miles of designated park.
Several plants qualify as tumbleweeds (also called “wind witches”). They are invasive unwanted plants, a symbol in Western films of an absurd declaration: and awkward silence, a bad joke, a dual between two characters, and most interestingly for me…an opportunity to perform for the camera and to reflect on another cycle of land misuse. Tumbleweeds are emblematic of the Dust Bowl or “Dirty 30s”: severe drought, agricultural depression, all due to unethical and misinformed social and agricultural practices on the stolen land, migratory Tularosa Basin of the Apache people, and Mescalero Apache people.
These land misuses continue as White Sands was re-designated in December 2019 by the US Government Trump Administration from the status of National Monument to National Park. This determined additional “use” of the land with a significantly increased budget and infrastructure for even more missile testing. This will create developments in satellites, Space travel, more death weapons, and more pollution for the people in New Mexico.
Extinction of Recycling on Earth
MMM wears a “movie production pro-sumer quality stunt man green chroma key suit, with a cheap green plastic sled, and attempts dystopic extreme sports sledding on a 1/2 processed unfossilized mound of broken glass which will never be processed as the ENTIRE RECYCLING PROGRAM ENDED IN CLEVELAND INDEFINITELY, a premonition of the extinction of recycling programs all over the United States importers of trash do not want to process it, or will not process the low quality sorting that Americans provide in their bins, and as cities can no longer afford the inflation of the cost to export and process their waste. Ironically the BLUE BINS are still in use in Cleveland to fool consumers into feeling good as both their recycling and trash gets delivered to the same garbage dump for the foreseeable future.
Astronaut Training, United Center front sidewalk
Wearing a simulated astronaut flight suit, I run many relays back and forth along the front façade of the United Center in Chicago. The wind spastically controls the patterns of quick flights and descents of this tiny parachute strapped around the equator of my stomach. The parachute chosen for this performance was marketed to athletes for improving their resistance training. On my body it is more legible as an umbilical tether or a poetic and futile attempt to lift my body towards the atmosphere. My audience is mostly composed of the drivers of fast moving vehicles zipping by me on this cold day in October.
This gravity-bound exploration is one of several interdisciplinary works on the topic of elitism and exclusivity of space. My work is informed by over a decade of working as a public relations photographer for NASA, from 2004 until 2015. What has changed or improved in the accessibility of space or of scientific research data now since twelve white men walked on the Moon? How can I, as an individual artist, simulate or create dissonance between the canonized, solitary, white male Explorer?
Alien Re-visitation to Roswell New Mexico, United States During a Global Pandemic Lockdown 2020
Physical Edit to the Space History at the Adler Planetarium