Taxonomy of Unusual Events on the Mountain

Moody Gallery, Houston, TX

Mixed media installation, floor to ceiling, five walls, ceiling is 10 feet.

Since 2004 my artwork has been a continuously evolving black and white composition that translates natural phenomena into a series of formalized art events and installations. In order to see the landscape in new ways, I interviewed US Border Patrol trackers. The meetings resulted in tracking lessons, information about human and drug corridors in the area and a conversation about nearby Mount Livermore, a mountain that can be seen from my studio. After a tracker pointed out that Mount Livermore is a landmark for drug traffickers and undocumented workers backpacking through the area, I adopted the mountain as the focus of my artwork.

This is my third installation concentrating on imagery from Mount Livermore. Mount Livermore is situated 50 miles from the US/Mexico border, north of Marfa, TX. It is designated a sky island having “supreme conservation value” by The Nature Conservancy. Surrounded by a high desert plain and protected by its isolation, scientists and environmentalists study the unique flora and fauna on the mountain. Archeology digs on the peak and in the shadow of the mountain have yielded artifacts thousands of years old. Several decades ago, surveyors from a National Geodetic Survey team occupied the peak for the collection of data for the Lunar Laser Ranging Project, the oldest “living” Apollo project. Currently an antenna at the peak is used by the Border Patrol to receive and transmit information from thousands of sensors buried in the area and for emergency broadcasts. In short, many historical moments, technological stages and political agendas converge at this site. Since my initial meeting with the Border Patrol tracker, I have interviewed other trackers, undocumented workers, a former moon rock curator at NASA, the lead archeologist at a local university, the director and the lead botanist for the Davis Mountain Preserve of The Nature Conservancy, an engineer from the McDonald Observatory, naturalists, a pilot, and a designer of military holograms to understand the cultural complexity of this site.

In this installation, covering five walls within the gallery, the relationships between fragments and totalities are formalized as I continue my investigation into the complexity of contemporary experiences, interpretations and visual uses of Mount Livermore.