Mixed media installation
This project leveraged multiple methods of research to gain a closer understanding of where ideas of dominion come from, and what consequences result from these constructed frameworks. 15 different creation myths from a variety of cultures were placed with quotes from the contemporary religious texts, economists, and various other theorists whos ideas of dominion may have influenced our current institutions and ideas.
As part of my research, I conducted a series of performative actions with the land. I extracted the "earth" from various sites. I purchased, bartered, stole, violated, polluted, claimed, and gave away the land in order to experience and challenge the institutions and norms that regulate how we come to possess land/property. The question of who is believed to own the earth, who is entitled to use the earth, and how ownership succession of the earth is controlled by a society is central. The earth itself, "mother earth", is gendered female, however women in the US did not have the right to own property until 1900. Women have been the owned, and not the owners, along with the earth up until very recently. Hegemonic structures of power, such as land rites and inheritance laws, have been influenced by the understandings of biological mechanisms of reproduction at the time.
A palimpsest is a manuscript or material used for writing that has been erased and recorded over - however, slight traces or impressions of the old text usually remain. This project explores the idea of cultural palimpsest, that concepts of hegemonic narratives originate as far back as native origin stories are not completely erased from the collective imagination. According to cultural anthropologist Sherry B. Ortner in her essay, Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture, female subordination is one of the "true universals...it is a pan-cultural fact". She outlines the logic for female subordination and how all cultures may have come to the conclusion based on a ubiquitous and convincing line of logic.
The idea that inheritance is based on chromosomes, and that each parent contributes equally, is just over one generation fresh (1902). Before this point, the "convincing line of logic" leaned towards Aristotle's theory of inheritance which asserted that the male "seed" possessing life-giving potential, only needs a fertile ground— which the woman provides— to grow into a new human. When science proves us equal genetic contributors, does culture shift overnight, eliminating all associated assumptions of value? Of course not. Metaphors of the male seed and woman as incubators are still there, swimming around in the collective unconscious. Viewers were invited to comment on, and edit these texts, as the project of rewriting the story of humanity is a collective one.
Preparatory research, attempts at rock-bonding (pictured below).