Un/Familiar Un/Known Landscapes
Annually, for the past several years, I have made it a point to do a road trip to an area in the United States that I have never experienced. Most recently, I completed a trip through the northern plains of the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. Last year, I went to explore the entirety of California, from Los Angeles to Death Valley to the Bay Area, then back to LA. Before that, I drove around Arizona, Utah and Nevada. I am just now, while I am in Galveston, starting to delve into the photos I have been taking of the recent American landscape. I am very interested in what these places mean in terms of a current American psyche, but also for myself as a queer entity traveling through them in this specific time. These landscapes are as foreign to me physically as they are to psychically, as alien as a literal other world, even as an American who has had the persona of these lands fitted to me like a dancing tights - like, I should say, most other (perhaps white) Americans. I wish to use the landscape to dive into the foggy earth of consciousness, as a familiar yet foreign experience to explore how our environments shape who we are on a psychic level. This is especially of importance in 2017 as the changes happening in the U.S. are so divisive. While progress goes in and out like a social tide pulled by the gravity political reality stars, the landscape remains as an ideological mass that defines & defies the nostalgia of what America used to be - and perhaps what it could be still if we stop destroying it.