Jacona Project

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1998, 20ft x 20ft square, archeology tools and found objects.
Jacona Project took place during an environmental art symposium on the Pojoaque Indian Reservation in New Mexico. Artists created projects that addressed the environmental threats to the Rio Grande River and its tributaries. My project focused on the controversial archeological practices on the adjacent ancient Native American village of Jacona. In creating the work I encountering a “trash site” from the 1970’s on the banks of the Jacona River. I set up a scientific excavation of this site using techniques modeled after the New Mexico School of American Research. I sifted through the debris of tin cans, shampoo bottles, cigarette lighters, etc. The project exposed the irony that occurs when one culture studies another. For over one hundred years anthropologists have been attempting to understand the Native American Culture through scientific investigation. Digging up grave sites and trash mounds are practices that have been met with disapproval by traditional societies. I attempted to turn the focus around and study my own cultures remains. These material items that are viewed as “garbage,” are similar to articles used for making educated assumptions about the spirituality and religious beliefs of earth based Native American peoples. I hoped for the viewers to think about the values of our society based on our refuse. Even though the replica of a dig was exaggerated in many ways, many visitors to the outdoor event passed by as if it was an authentic site.                                                                                                   
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