I Came Here to Find Myself
Priscilla Queen of the Medina,
June 25, 2014
I Came Here to Find Myself is a series of works that deal with notions of travel both as a tourist and as an artist in residence and the complex interplay of images and expectation which define ones experience. When one travels they are confronted with an industry that functions through the reducing of objects, cultures and individuals into images for outside observers. These images are simulations and constructions of the ‘authentic’ mediated by expectation borne out of a historical image-making. This production of images is bolstered by both a desire by the western observer to actualize authentic experience and thereby position themselves within a history of ‘open-minded adventurers’ problematically seeking the real in “primitive” cultures (ie. What western cultures lost in the race to modernity) all the while mirroring pretenses laid out by a colonial history. This function of tourism is motivated by a desire to pre-
-sent oneself as “worldly” to audiences in the country of origin, to legitimize the self through a re-performance of the experience of venerable western figures. However, this mirroring of experience is undertaken successively by those less and less willing to ‘go all the way’ so to speak, they require western frames laid atop to make the images palatable, which in turn exerts influence on the reconstruction of images. No longer reconstruction, these images become syncretic reiterations wholly unlike any of the original models, instead ones indicative of the ‘global village’. This system of image production is inextricably linked to the contemporary economy of Morocco and its position in a global market of intangible commodities, of experience-based sectors. It is not a ‘slice of the past’ within a modern global market economy but a part of that very system. It is a divergent iteration of a modern economy of images.
In Search of the Authentic
Orange and terracotta fragments gathered during a walk circumnavigating the 19km perimeter of the Marrakech Ramparts.
I went nowhere and all I got was this lousy t-shirt
T-shirt purchased in the Medina, Indigo Dye from Berber
apothecary in the Medina, and Coat hanger.
In Search of the Authentic, Inkjet print
"In searching for the authentic Marrakech I decided to walk around the entire medina...from outside the wall."
The Treachery of Images
Soviet-made Zenit camera (modeled after German Leica blueprints pillaged following WWII) sealed by Marrakech artisan purchased in the medina, post cards purchased in the medina, and wooden crates produced in Marrakech for the transport of produce.
Excerpts from travel websites utilizing orientalist rhetoric to advertise Marrakech phonetically translated into Arabic, Indigo cake, terracotta heel scraper.