It takes millions of years for mountains to be built up, and millions more to shed some of the looser and more fragile rocks, until what’s left is the strongest and most enduring part of the substrate. Everything else are valleys of illuvial soil. A relic is something that remains after everything else has gone. This show is made up of the remains of mountains and relics of their existence. The territories represented have been visited by the artist, collection of soil samples were made, and materials dyed and painted from these illuvial soils.
These works reflect on how both mountains and civilizations are melted down to ingots and swallowed whole, forever lost in the belly of envy and desire. For this exhibition, Amanda Agricola investigates mankind’s tendency towards violent acquisition and demolition of land. She created carved maps of landscapes with precious resources and painful pasts. The CNC, which carved the wood, traces specific areas of the map, digging into the plywood revealing hidden layers within the wood. As it delves deeper into the wood, possible blemishes and flaws are revealed as well as hidden beauty in the grains beneath the surface of the ply. She imagines a future where there is nothing left to mine; these relics of terrains with embedded cryptocurrency mining computers are all that we have left. “Table Strategies” is a terrain of the land where she once played war-games with siblings and cousins. Viewers are invited to play a hand of war, a children’s card game in which the winner is the person who holds all the cards.
While touching on our nation’s painful past and present, Agricola offers glimpses of hope for a future reciprocity between man and earth in augmented reality. Grids of digital stones and recordings traverse the relics of the show, like lingering spirits of a world long gone. They reinforce the feeling of a here-ness and a not-here-ness, as the viewer becomes involved in a digital exploration. The url offers an alternative perspective, but it comes at a cost as their device begins to mine cryptocurrency as long as the url is open. Once again, reflecting on the relationship of the user and the used.
“The term colonization is derived from the Latin colere - to till, cultivate, promote growth. Thus colonization can be thought of in terms of the steps involved in a process of cultivation: taking control of the indigenous soil, uprooting the existing indigenous plants (peoples), overturning the soil (the indigenous way of life), planting new colonial seeds (people) or transplanting colonial plants (people) from another environment, and harvesting the resulting crops (resources) or else picking the fruits (wealth) that result from the labor of cultivation (colonization).” Newcomb, Steven T.. Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery (p. 14)