Sleeping with Jefferson
Installation: Waterbed frame, Digital Picture Frame, Hubcaps/ Wheel Cover, Video Projection, Audio. 2007-2009 part of Remix: Modernities in a Post-Indian World. This Traveling exhibition: Heard Museum Phoenix, Arizona; The National Museum of The American Indian, NYC, New York; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada.
According to the 2000 Census, less than one percent of the United States population is Native American, defined as one race, and the part-indigenous community account for half percent. When combined, these percentages total to just over 4 million people, a small amount when compared to the 282 million total US population. In addition, less than 900,000 of US Native Americans live on Indian Reservations. The rest live in cities and suburbs.
Sleeping with Jefferson is an installation based on a futuristic hypothetical narrative of miscegenation and the impacts of geographic space we live in. The installation incorporates a video projection on a bed of hubcaps/ wheel covers. The video is about 5 minutes long and is two parts, a pixilated view of mixed race couples having sex and images of moving water in different color arrangements. A digital picture frame that sits in the headboard, displays a map of metro Phoenix, the 5th largest metropolitan area in the US. This looping digital picture frame changes every 5 seconds, beginning at the 2000 census of Native American population and ends at the 2200, showing the declining pure blood Native American population in Metro Phoenix. For this information, I used my family’s history to forecast the probabilities of future generations of Natives to be Native and or Post-Native in the Phoenix metro area and I rely on a geographic information system (GIS) linking the results to spatial information on a changing map.
With the westward expansion came new challenges to define and divide territory. Thomas Jefferson suggested a grid system based on the rectangle. The Land Ordinance of 1785 drafted by Thomas Jefferson, extended government authority over the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes regions. The grid divided vast geographic spaces into one-mile square plots of land. The Jeffersonian grid represents a quantitative method for land expansion and geographic space, and is apparent in cities like Metro-Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Sleeping with Jefferson is response to a global experience more frequently predetermined by algorithms and computer models and is about the long drawn out philosophical blood lines we have created and destroyed, through progress, necessity, choice, and best-cased scenarios.