opening reception on Friday,
4 June, 7-9 pm
Galerie Daniel Buchholz
Neven-DuMont-Str. 17 50667 Köln
Tel 0221-2574946 Fax 253351
4 June 2004 - 6 July 2004
opening reception on Friday, 4 June, 7-9 pm
NOTES FOR PAINTINGS:
Indians: Aside from its direct relation to my own heritage (and, by the way, there’s a need for a reinterpretation of what it might mean to be white and working class in the Southeast U.S.), a fascination with the misuse of history under fascism, ie. the always-already pre-destiny of normative values under contemporary conservatism as opposed to the polysexual, polytheistic and hyper-assimilative and adaptive nature of Southeast Indian cultures. In varying tribes, when dealing with nature, there was the predictable and relatively stable change of seasons but, other than that, most other things were impromptu and up-for-grabs.
And, as an aside, I have an interest in assimilation itself as it applies to American Indians from the beginning of the 18th C to the end of the 19th - and, by extension, its resonance as applied to dynmics of assimilation / separatism / opportunism in American minority politics.
Stumps: It was interesting to see recently in Rome a number of academics debating the plundering of Roman monuments from the 4th C AD to the early 19th and to note that at no other time in history have we - now - had a greater grasp of the expanse of our own history. For example, even if a man in Roman times lived to be 100, the Forum would change little in his lifetime and would in fact be as eternal and as taken for granted as, say, the sun’s rise every morning.
Tree: Even in L.A., there’s a tree in my yard that’s old enough for Indian children to have played on.
Fence: the arbitrary (or not) assignment and maintenance of boundaries; the division, slash, vergule that separates theses from antitheses in Hegelian sublation - and, by extension, the enforced divide (do not cross this line; the untranslatable Latin on the signpost underneath the Lapis Niger) in dimorphic sexuality; a fence divides “am” from “am not” in parametric models of identity. Nomads own no fences.
Television: long distance, mediated viewing; surveillance as well as fandom.
2 minds, simultaneously: ambivalence in Freud, splitting in Melanie Klein
3 (three): A third (not just two). Plus, threading thorugh these paintings is a narrative: drag queen meets prostitute, acquiescence and consummation occur, prostitute dies and drag queen falls into mediated love. The transvestite (a crossing of formulaic genders) transcends (the crossing of the corporeal / supernatural realms) to receive a transmission. Mediation is itself always a third (transmitter + viewer + technology)
Drag: Third sex, third gender (Gilbert Herdt); other cultures and other times which permit gender role difference without forcing it into essentialist or binary models; sexuality as practice not symbol; the refusal to represent. The Roman rhetoricians (Maud Gleason, “Making Men”) Polemo (rhetoric and aeration as masculine) versus Favorinus (the unbordered, uncontainable interesexed Celt who denies the easy hydraulics of binaried gender, ie. a decrease of culturally understood masculine traits does not necessarily compel an increase in feminine ones).
“My father and I were talking on the phone one Sunday afternoon. We’d both been trying to quit smoking, both were still smoking and still on the patch. I wore mine 24 hours a day but my dad said that he had really crazy dreams if he wore his to bed. I had happened to like mine so asked him what was wrong with his. He said, “I don’t know Rick - it was like them wooly boogers was chasing me.”
This line, typical of my father’s sense of word play, sent me off in search of where he would’ve come up with the term “wooly booger”. The first thing it jogged were memories of my trying to sleep at night after seeing the movie “Legend of Boggy Creek”, rumors about bigfoot, etc.
(to look up: anthropological interpretations of Sasquatch and its relationship to the repressed (like interpretations of booger dance) anxieties re: tall, hairy invaders / taboos against cannibalism)
BIGFOOT: (this sighting and its location are within 2 miles of the home where I grew up)
DATE: June 30, 2001
NEAREST TOWN: Shiloh, TX
NEAREST ROAD: I think it’s HWY 14 heading toward Mexia, TX.
OBSERVED: I got the flashlight and went to the truck. About a minute later they all started hollering for me and Nancy to get over there because they could smell what they claimed was Bigfoot. Female witness or I didn’t smell it where we were at. The smell went away after a several seconds I guess. We all finally left back to the house. The next day we went back down there and looked at the fence then straightened it up to see if it would get bent again. Male witness showed me where hair was stuck in the fence in several locations. I am a deer hunter and I know for a fact that this hair was not deer, hog, coyote or cows. It was a mixture of black, grey, brown and some white hairs that were more softer and flexible than wild game. Most was about 3/4″ long. Male witness had a sample he was going to turn in to be tested but I don’t know if he ever did or not. I pulled hair out from several spots along about 50′ of fence. Out of all of this I can say one thing now. I definitely believe in Bigfoot now and won’t go walking through the woods in the dark.
DESCRIPTION: Big and tall black shadow moving around about 9′ to 10′ tall. I only saw it for a couple seconds and it was gone!
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE: One witness had found a track in the road by the path they traveled from a previous sighting that was vague but his brother ran over it with the truck and ruined it. Hair found in fence. All the trails and bent Barbed wire bent the wrong direction from what a cow would do.
OTHER STORIES: Yes, the one with my cousin and his wife. His mom and brother recently saw it again at night. His dad claims he saw one in the daylight a bunch of years ago down by Moss Creek where they are believed to hang out.
ENVIRONMENT: It’s all wooded with farms all around and lots of creeks and stock ponds.
The Powhatan also knew the Susquehannock (whom they called cannibals) from painful experience, and when the English first settled Virginia, the Powhatan had placed their villages well-inland to protect them from Susquehannock war parties who ranged the coastline by canoes. One reason the Powhatan were not completely opposed to English settlement at first was that they provided additional protection, but the Susquehannock still attacked the Potomac (Powhatan) villages in northern Virginia during 1610. Drawn by the potential profits from furs, other Europeans came to the New World during the early 1600s.
Eskimo: Eskimo means “Eater of Raw Flesh” and the aboriginal
people of Alaska do not recognize the term; actually it is considered
offensive language. The proper terminology is Inuit, meaning “the
Eskimo Pie: This chocolate covered ice cream bar was first
manufactured in 1921 by Russell Stover. Though the company has been
made aware of the insult created by the tradename of this product and
of the “Eskimo” child on the box cover, the manufacturers
choose to continue marketing this product which can otherwise be
called a “raw flesh pie.”
Eastern United States
1. Cherokee (Stoneclad, Nun Yunu Wi, “The Stone Man”, or Kecleh-Kudleh, pronounced Chickly Cudly. Kecleh means “Hairy”, Kudleh means either “Man”, “Indian” or “Savage”
2. Iroquois (Ot ne yar heh, “Stonish Giants”)
3. Iroquois-Seneca (Ge no sqwa, “The Stone Giants”)
4. Ojibwa (Windigo, “Wicked Cannibal Giant”)
5. Seneca (Ge no’sgwa, “The Stone Giants/The Stone Coats”)
6. Seminole-Esti Capcaki, pronounced Estee’ JapJaki-meaning “Tall Man”
Traditional Attitudes Toward Bigfoot in Many North American Cultures
By Gayle Highpine
Tribal cultures everywhere are based on relationship and kinship; the closer the kinship, the stronger the bond. Many Indian elders in the Northwest refuse to eat bear meat because of the bear’s similarity to humans.
Even among those eastern Algonkian tribes to whom Bigfoot represents the incarnation of the Windigo — the human who is transformed into a cannibalistic monster by tasting human flesh in time of starvation — his fearsomeness comes from his very closeness to humans. The Windigo is the embodiment of the hidden, terrifying temptation within them to turn to eating other humans when no other food is to be had. He was still their “elder brother”, but a brother who represented a human potential they feared. As such, the Windigo’s appearance was sort of a constant warning to them, a reminder that a community whose members turn to eating each other is doomed much more surely than a community that simply has no food.
Evidence of Precolumbian human sacrifice in North America (incl. Southeast)
For 500 years, Cahokia was the major center of a culture that, at it’s peak, stretched from Red Wing, Minnesota to Key Marco, Florida and across the southeast. Cahokia is the largest prehistoric site in North America, north of Central Mexico. The site is located across the Mississippi River, east of St. Louis, Missouri on a now extinct river channel.
The cultural tradition represented at Cahokia is called Mississippian by archaeologists. Characteristics of a Mississippian site include shell-tempered pottery, triangular projectile points, rectangular-shaped trench houses, pyramid mounds, diagnostic settlement patterns and site plans…
850 years ago, with a population of some 20,000 people, Cahokia was one of the great urban centers of the world.
Many of Cahokia’s original mounds were destroyed by modern farming, road building and housing developments. The remaining 80 mounds still hold many ancient secrets because archaeologists have dug into fewer than two dozen. Among these, Mound 72 stands as one of the grisliest archaeological finds in North America.
Under it were found the remains of a tall man buried about the year 1050. He died in his early 40s and was laid to rest on about 20,000 shell ornaments and more than 800 apparently unused arrows with finely made heads. Also in the grave were a staff and 15 shaped stones of the kind used for games.
“Clearly, some really important leader is buried in there,” Pauketat says. Interred with him were four men with their heads and hands cut off and 53 young women apparently strangled. Their youth, 15 to 25 years, and the fact that they were all women, suggests human sacrifice. People that young did not die of natural causes in such numbers.
Nearby, researchers found more burials and evidence of a charnel house. In all, 280 skeletons were found. About 50 lay haphazardly in a single deep pit, as if tossed in without honor. Some have arrowheads in the back or were beheaded, evidence of warfare or perhaps a crushed rebellion.
“I would guess there were people around who weren’t too loyal,” Pauketat says.
Mound 72 has provoked considerable debate among anthropologists. Some say the four men without hands or heads represent the four cardinal directions on a compass. To others, the sacrifices evoke comparisons to Mayan and Aztec cultures. Some suspect that those thrown in a pit were objecting to the sacrifices.
No one knows. Mound 72 is the only Cahokian burial site excavated with modern archaeological care. About 20 other mounds were dug up in the 1920s, using careless methods and leaving few notes.
Also perhaps, associated with “wooly booger” is the Booger Dance of Southeast Indians. While not necessarily a fertility rite, it is an autumnal performance in which a secret band of members dress up as oversexualized monsters with grotesque masks and mock breasts and genitalia made from gourds. Associated with many rituals were the use of herbs for ritualistic purging.
Ethnopharmacology: A multidisciplinary approach to ritual enema scenes on ancient Maya pottery. 1986
de Smet PA, Hellmuth NM.
There are various enema scenes on classic Maya pottery, which undoubtedly represent rituals and may very well indicate that the ancient Maya took intoxicating enemas in a ritual context. This idea is quite contrary to the traditional view that the ancient Maya were a contemplative people, who did not indulge in ritual ecstasy. The occasional display of vomiting actors would seem to provide a plausible reason why the Maya opted for rectal application. Some scenes present a fair amount of evidence that an alcoholic beverage may have been taken rectally. Anecdotal experimental evidence suggests that an alcoholic liquid may certainly induce or intensify a state of inebriation, when it is administered via the rectal route. Other scenes open up the possibility that tobacco and the water lily or some other flowering plant may have served as an enema ingredient. The phytochemistry and psychopharmacology of tobacco are well documented and there can be little doubt that this herb may produce toxic effects, when it is taken in the form of a clyster. Unfortunately, little is still known about the constituents and pharmacological activity of the water lily. It is sometimes speculated that this plant is hallucinogenic, but experimental confirmation of this view is still awaited.
Sheldon Hosts Fenimore House Museum Exhibit of Flags in Native American Art
The Sheldon is exhibiting The Flag In American Indian Art through Aug. 29. The exhibition of 36 objects from the late 19th century through the 20th century, features the American flag in their designs.
Most of the items in The Flag in American Indian Art were made by Plains Indians, primarily the Lakota (Sioux). However, American Indian nations from four U.S. regions are also represented: The Dakota (Sioux), Kiowa and Otoe-Missouria of the Great Plains; the Yakima and other Plateau tribes, and the Makah from the Northwest; the Apache and Navajo from the Southwest; and the Han of Alaska. The exhibition is divided into five sections, and all material is decorated with the flag motif: adult clothes, containers, children’s objects, objects made for sale and warrior traditions.
The use of the flag motif by different tribes reveals a variety of purposes. Many flag-embellished pieces in the exhibition were made as gifts for Fourth of July ceremonies. Some American Indians used the image as an amulet, perhaps believing it protected the wearer from the hostility of opposing forces. By including the motif in their everyday apparel, American Indians of the 19th century might have been viewed as less threatening to the wary United States government.
The flag could also suggest the legacy of warrior societies. In the 20th century, the image has symbolized the valor of American Indian men whose service in the United States armed forces continued the warrior traditions of their ancestors. For example, a rug featuring the flag was woven by contemporary Navajo artist LaVerne Barber as a tribute to an uncle who served in the Vietnam War.
As the traditional hunting economy was forcibly phased out, some tribes created flag-adorned objects for sale to create new income. Flag-decorated items were popular for the American souvenir market and some pieces - such as a Victorian-style beaded-hide pillow sham from 1900-25 - were designed with the tastes of non-Indians in mind.
The red and white stripes and blue canton with white stars, an attractive graphic symbol, is well-suited to adaptation on the side of a knife sheath or the back of a scout jacket. The Lakota, who considered red to be a sacred color, sometimes replaced the five-pointed star with a four-pointed version that was easier to work and had symbolic meaning for Plains Indians.
The objects in The Flag in American Indian Art were drawn from The Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, housed at the Fenimore House Museum, New York State Historical Association. Eugene Thaw was a fine art dealer in New York and he and his wife began collecting American Indian art with flag imagery in 1987 when they moved to Santa Fe, N.M. The collection now consists of more than 750 objects and this exhibition marks the first traveling exhibition of a portion of this important collection.
Star Spangled Moccasins: The American Flag in Native American Culture
In a circa 1874 drawing, the Oglala warrior Sitting Bull depicted a Native American warrior proudly flying the stars and stripes of an American flag as he rides into battle. In many ways, this is a puzzling, even paradoxical, image. Why would the Oglala - who resisted U.S. encroachment on their lands - engage in a seemingly zealous show of American patriotism? Why would they embrace the flag of a country that they had historically perceived as hostile and oppressive? In fact, at the end of the nineteenth century, many Native Americans from many different tribes used flag imagery as a design element in their art, clothing, and crafts. While some of these objects were produced for sale or exchange with European Americans (the tourist trade was a growing component of many tribal economies), there is compelling evidence that many of these artifacts were used, worn, and treasured by Native Americans themselves. Not always literal or exact representations, Native American flag images often modify or abstract the pattern of the American flag, enlarging or shrinking the blue field, omitting stripes, or substituting other shapes for stars. But however the image is refashioned and transformed in Native American art, it is nonetheless recognizable as the American flag. These representations are a testament to the creativity and inventiveness of the Native American artisans who appropriated this symbol of European American power and dominance and adapted it to their own complex and diverse uses.
Many of the Great Plains tribes held the traditional belief that flags captured in battle were imbued with the power of the enemy,
(note: nature of assimilative incorporation … even enemies are brothers … brothers lost in war are replaced by captives from raids … substitutions among likenesses)
a belief probably reinforced by the fact that U.S. troops used the flag as a battle emblem when they attacked Native Americans. Upon capture, Native Americans believed that the flag transferred its power to its new owner, thus endowing him with the strength of his adversary.(note: the cannibalist scenario)
In this context, Sitting Bull’s drawing of the Oglala warrior carrying the American flag into combat can be interpreted as a testament to the warrior’s prowess and triumph in battle. Similarly, the Lakota tradition of decorating children’s clothing with American flags can be understood as a method for ensuring their protection and safety through the flag’s talismanic power. One of the few Lakota survivors of the massacre at Wounded Knee was a little girl who was found in the snow, wearing a bonnet beaded with American flag patterns.
Native Americans may also have adopted the flag on occasion as an expedient way to make their traditional practices seem less threatening to Reservation authorities.
(note: it’s relationship to a white flag?)
When U.S. authorities banned the Lakota summer Sun Dance ceremony because they saw it as pagan and subversive, the Lakota adapted parts of the ceremony into a sanctioned Fourth of July celebration. Because the traditional sacred colors of the Sun Dance are red and blue, the insertion of American flag imagery did not disrupt the spiritual significance of the ceremony. Native American art also frequently introduces traditional sacred symbols into the representation of the flag pattern itself. Substituting the usual five-pointed stars with four-armed Morning Stars and crosses, Native American artisans transformed the flag into a representation of their own religious and cultural traditions. The varied examples of flag imagery in Native American art point out the multivalence of this symbol. For some artists, the representation of the American flag may have been a means to signify assimilation with the dominant culture, while for others, redesigned images of the flag probably served as a means of proclaiming their cultural independence.
“The Mystical Invention of Television and Its Relationship to Mourning”, 2004
acrylic and oil on linen
152,4 x 121,9 cm