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andrea geyer

Spiral Lands / Chapter 2. 2008. installation in an educational setting with slide projection, 80 color and black and white slides, voice over 50 min, brochure with footnotes.

In the cycle of works called Spiral Lands, Andrea Geyer investigates the role of photography in the colonization and continuous appropriation of the North American continent, using the American Southwest (now Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado) as an example. Not stopping with the past, but working up through the present moment, Geyer looks critically at records, documents, stories, drawings, and photography that construct the complex history of North America and the identity of its people.

Chapter 2 of Spiral Lands consists of a slide projection with the voice-over of a lecture. This form engages the role of "the scholar" or "the researcher" who for 150 years has fostered an ongoing fascination with this particular part of North America. Every summer hundreds of anthropologists, ethnographers, artists and photographers travel to the Southwest to conduct their investigations into the land and local culture. Looking closer at the outcome of such investigations one could say that in these writings of histories and identities, it is not their subject but rather the researchers/ethnographers themselves, who — like the protagonist in fiction — hold center stage. In Geyer’s installation the lecturer is represented by a voice over, critically asking herself what drives the desire for this land and what enables the feeling of a right of passage. Oscillating between the imperative and the persuasive, the voice does not stop within the boundaries of scientific observation but engages the artist/viewer in their contemplation, asking what their gaze desires, longs for and projects. Addressing the western concept of “landscape” Geyer is pointing to the fact that visualization is and has always been a sophisticated ideological device, revealing as much of what stands behind the camera as what is found in front. The lecture, much like the text in Chapter 1, is a combination of many different voices, native and non-native. Again, a pamphlet with footnotes is available for the viewer to take. The slides projected show images of Chaco Canyon, a National Historic Site in what is now called New Mexico, photographed by Geyer in February 2008.

detailed view of B&W frame

detailed view of color frame

view: Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3 | Clip 4 | Clip 5