^^^^ is a culmination of photography, video, sound, and installations that explore the complexities of Navajo/Diné mountain geographies.
^^^^ BLACK WHITE BLUE YELLOW
BWBY is an emersive four channel video and sound installation exploring four sacred mountains that border the Diné/Navajo people: BLACK (North) Dib’e Nitsaa/Hesperus Mountain, WHITE (East): Peak/Sisnaajini /Blanca Peak, BLUE (South) Tsoodzil Mount Taylor/south, YELLOW (West) Dookʼoʼoosłíí/San Francisco Peaks. BWBY is a journey and departure to sacred land and space, the source of cultural continuities: indigenous knowledge, mystery, discovery, fear, connection, and exploitation by contemporary societies.
^^^ Mountain Song
Mountain Song is a continuation of work exploring four sacred outlying mountains for Diné/Navajo people. Mountain Song is designed as a single channel video with sound or as a conceptual film. Mountain Song considers Dibé Nitsaa (Mount Hesperus) as a point of departure for relating to land as a source of regional and larger continuities: indigenous knowledge, mystery, discovery, community, exploitation, and soft power struggles. Relational stories emerge from each of four verses in the film and from the aerial views of indigenous land. Mountain Song begins at the peak of Dibé Nitsaa (Mount Hesperus), and moves outward and away, traveling through different community stories and moments in time, eventually ending at the place I call home today, Phoenix, Arizona. Throughout transitions between stories and moments is an audio recording of the non-indigenous accounts of the first humans landing on the Moon in 1969 (Apollo Mission). These transitions while echoing a memory of extraterrestrial discovery, also position the viewer and listener as a perpetual outsider to events of the past, only able to imagine or reimagine those moments in time.
^^ (Resource) is the second chapter in a series of videos and installations exploring the four outlying sacred mountains for Navajo People. ^^ (Resource) relates to Dook’o’osliid (San Francisco Peaks, Arizona) as a form with varied meanings and significance for a number of perspectives, as played out by the central narrative. The color yellow dominant in the rock forms represent both the sacred color of the mountain for Navajo's and also a formal way to align the story.
^ Looking For Tsosido
^ Looking For Tsosido/The Mountain, Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 15 - December 31, 2013.
Looking For Tsosido/The Mountain, is a three-channel video exploring the narratives of journey. Each channel reveal separate visual forms of process and revelation. The name, Tsosido, was my father’s nickname when he was a child; the translation of the name has never been revealed to me from any living family member from my Navajo or Laguna Pueblo heritage. Therefore, the origin of Tsosido as a word with definition or meaning is unknown to me and has yet to be fully realized. Tsosido, ultimately functions as a point of personal loss and disconnection from my father, an evolving polymorphous mythology containing the frameworks for building a new personal aesthetic.
The Verticals has functioned through the strata of histories for numerous cultures and activities. It would be pointless to quantify any of these ‘Cairns’ beyond my personal experience and assumptions through hypothetical quandary of alternative meanings would prove fruitless. So, outside of this point I will only address the Verticals I’ve observed in a limited scope of my art practice.
In the natural world it’s common to find a Vertical in rock form, likely because rocks are a common sense material available at the surface of the earth. If land is the true origin of personal reflection then the choices in rock color, size, numbers in usage, and general arrangement can be directly connected to the hands that created them. Color is site specific, but combinations and ocular centric perceptions can sometimes be misleading; does the white rock go on the top or the bottom, and so on. Size of a rock in Verticals may relate to strength, power, or the coordination and balancing ability of the creator. There is nothing forceful or penetrating about a minor Vertical, but as the saying goes, does size matter? Availability of specific rock selections (material) is another issue, as I’m defining the surface of the earth in broad strokes I realize that rock availability is also subjective to forms of premeditative or impulsive actions, so therefore cannot be fully understood from this vantage point. Finally to address arrangement; verticality as a core symbol is evident the moment on one object is on top of another. But, the variations and combinations are so deeply embedded in the subconscious that to fully understanding of the personalized monolith would discredit its creator or creators.
In the urban context the meta-narrative continues with countless organic and inorganic material fodder, available for Vertical constructions. The metaphor of the Vertical within an overtly colonized location (city, suburb, town, municipality) on one level is a very non-indigenous expression of dominance and control over nature, and many activities with these vicinities are reaffirming this notion. The Vertical in its shear orientation to the urban surroundings are often observed in their practical forms of usage, and more or less related to everyday ritual practice of private and civic action, most of which are existing in the realms of efficient production and post-productions strategies. Consciously or not, the 21st century man when confronted by nature is still very much an embodiment of conflict. Man struggles to arrive to a place he has no reason to go, marking undefined trails in his wake. Along the way we insert our meanings into the materials and the environments we inhabit. Relationships are developed to specific space in the transient exercise of internalizing and action.
The Vertical in all space; natural, urban, or otherwise is still an abstract protrusion of realities through the materials that make its shape. The form of the vertical is transcendent, meaning whatever shape the Vertical takes; it carries an expression, a lineage of that shape with it. The most common examples of shape design follow basic shapes: cylindrical, triangular, rectangular, or anti-symmetrical. The notion of verticality in the essence of the form in some instances however could occasionally be subjective at times to a hetero patriarchy lens. This tendency by all genders is normal, since most people think of a penis before a tongue to describe extended projecting forms. This aside, the Vertical in relationship to its form and its social bearing should be negotiated internally. While the Verticals as objects are established archetypes, they are not perfect models in the sense that they can only exemplify the form. They are not the true form, which is perfect and unattainable because of temporality. What is attainable and in our control is how one can experience the Vertical and its form at the same time. Consider the common Vertical, found in high use areas, on public, private, and sovereign lands. They often appear at points of demarcation, or variance, and their directional value is only important for the disorientated traveler. Now consider the Vertical again, within the framework of time and space and abstract reality.
The Vertical is an articulated earth tongue, protruding upward, revealing the dynamic relationship between man and the source. It is the sublime muscle of communication with multidimensional interpretations, connecting tangible with otherness, joining the fleeting experiential and the innocuous encounter. The Vertical shares a universal lineage of communication since time immemorial, standing motionless and weighted as one of history, knowledge, and power.