For the last several years, I have been mapping interactions between indigenous peoples and various governments. I began by pulling maps from the Library of Congress of the treaties between various indigenous tribes and the United States government, overlaying them on the actual location in a GPS program, then going out and shooting at intervals along the entire boundary. I would then overlay the photographs on the original map section in a grid format for the digital print. Using the same data, I created a stop-motion video made using toy cowboy and Indians. It shows the spread of the United States through made and broken treaties.
As a counterpart to this research on the actual land and treaties, I traveled to Europe, Panama, St Martin, and many other locations where I transposed antique maps onto locations and then photographically mapped them. I mapped American colonies onto Europe and European borders onto the colonized countries. When I began thinking of the rifts between the continents, I immediately thought of the Panama Canal as the literal representation. St Martin is the smallest island shared by two colonial powers. Many other parts of the world were colonized at various points by Europeans and I map these in an ongoing part of the project. For all of these series, I used a similar style of overlaying a map, following the borders, and photographing at preset intervals.
Through all of these related projects I seek to illuminate a history that has been sanitized and distorted. Making the photographs using preset conditions instead of my own ideas of photographic beauty is a process that is hard to accept, but important for my process of understanding. The arbitrary notion of borders is one thing I am seeking to bring to the table. The ludicrous nature of colonizing another country is another part that intrigues and yet baffles me.