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andrea geyer

Spiral Lands / Chapter 1. 2007. installation with fiber based photographs and text (17 frames 70 x 175cm, 2 frames 70 x 230cm), brochure with footnotes.

Geyer's Spiral Lands is a work of photographic and textual historiography that investigates the longest struggle for social justice in North America today — the dispossession of lands from American Indians by colonization, governmentality, capitalist development, and flat out force and violence. These claims for spatial justice are deeply temporal — legislation from Europe around the "Doctrine of Discovery" and "the Rights of Conquest" were written in 1493 and law suits initiated by native groups to uphold treaty rights and gain land claims have spanned most of the 20th century to today — and Spiral Lands sculpts a complex understanding of the dynamic of history, place, ownership, capitalism, vision and photography to explore how North America is literally a contested zone that has yet to reconcile its own history and its heroic narratives of conquest as a capitalist myth of origins. Foraging through the archive of colonial proclamations, treaties, manifestos from the American Indian Movement (AIM), anthropological texts, personal histories, corporate reports, travelogues and oral histories, Geyer shows this relationship of land and ownership, of space and history, to be the very condition of the global present rather than a repressed history that can be brought into view by adding it to existing historical narratives. The landscape photographs of contested sites of Native lands challenge the historical scopic regimes of North American landscape photography and counter a photography of a spirit of place (genius loci) with the representation of place as process that is dynamically historical, intensely present and visually uncanny. The heart of this work is a radical beauty of a cultural politics based not on cultural recognition and liberalism, but on social justice.

Jeff Derksen

detailed view of each frame