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Comments made by ClaireZitzow

Desert Jackrabbit Homesteads Inspire Artists

Here this is again, in case there is still an interest... the post got lost...

As ChrisC already clearly writes above, the contradictions the jackrabbits ignite are part of what makes them so intriguing. They provide an opportunity to question our values and perceptions of place and our relationship to the recording of our histories.

On one hand the entirety of my project "Jackrabbits and the Crow: On Dwelling and Passing" is invested in uncovering societies' relationship to the 'sacred'/'historical'/'preserved'. This uncovering is at once political, personal, poetic, and based on experience as well as research and consultation.

I would hope that people who find the initial explanation of my project intriguing or even off-putting, would go see the show and experience the work. Another component of the exhibition (the “Crow”) follows the travels of a house in the city that is being carried on wheels to its final destination just two miles away from it’s original place. It is a house that was designated historical and was required to be moved when an entire city block was being razed for the construction of a new development. The fact that in most urban areas across the country there are laws protecting certain structures that are deemed historical, while others in the city or in more rural "wild" places like the 29 Palms area go derelict or are freely demolished speaks volumes to how we frame our values in different locational contexts.

On a different note, to address the reappropriation of materials from the jackrabbits in Wonder Valley, I think ChrisC again spoke to the point about the liminal space these structures occupy in terms of their historical identity. I found many diverse perceptions from residents in 29 Palms as well when I began to research and travel there extensively for the past year. On another, broader note, the act of reappropriation or reuse of building materials is as old as the beginnings of organized dwelling construction in human history. Very often we do not discuss history in this way–to question the layers and the various truths that compose past and therefore frame our current future. The compulsion to designate or preserve or otherwise keep intact should be privy to discussion as well. Perhaps there are times when envisioning other uses of historic sites while acknowledging the histories that allowed for them can be powerful ways of locating ourselves in the truths of our pasts.

The emotional reactions to taking objects or materials from these areas should not be denied. I am and have been fully aware of these responses. And in fact by eliciting responses such as the ones recorded above, we can reinterpret our standards or values and hopefully begin conversations such as the ones we are having here. As an artist who believes in the power of objects and actions, I think it is important to not only document or illustrate, but to challenge and incite as well.

January 7, 2011 at 10:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )