Documentation by Rachel Munford

 
 
“Henry Wesselwoman,” an exhibition by Alli Miller + Trey Burns, will be on view at the String Room Gallery at Wells College from March 19 — April 24th, 2014.

 

Theft is the beginning of meaning.

As Coyote continues her aimless wandering, she approaches the sparkling lights of the first and last chance watermark at the border town of Primm (we recall Baudrillard’s rave). Coyote sees Buffalo Bill’s Resort and Casino, Primm Valley Resort and Casino, and Whiskey Pete’s Hotel and Casino standing large on the horizon, three huge compounds flanking I-15. Pixel by pixel, she takes the form of a heavyset white man: goatee, jeans, docksiders (no socks), washed-out red Polo, some old point-and-shoot over-shoulder. She passes under the false mountains of the Adventure Canyon Log Flume and into the lobby of Buffalo Bill’s.

Coyote enters a large room with high ceilings. The family-oriented nature theme includes life sized trees, a water tower, a main street, and a river running through carrying log riders.This isn’t the Mojave, it’s more Colorado Valley, a nowhere filled to the brim with Old West simulation. Drifting towards Penny Lane, Coyote picks a slot unit at the end of an aisle, hoping to grab a waitress easily. Sitting down, she looks at the screen — UNDER THE SEA II, A NAUTICAL DEPARTURE.Coyote inserts a crumpled dollar bill face up.

She pushes the button to place a minimum bet, waits a few seconds, hits SPIN, and sits as the symbology finds its resting place. Coyote pauses, looking around for a waitress; an elderly man with an oxygen tank catches her eye. She places another minimum bet, wondering how long she can ride the bill, hoping it’s just long enough to grab a free drink before heading to Denny’s. The rollercoaster rumbles overhead, log riders come rolling through the interior, then breaking the seal and pushing up towards the desert.

Reaching the peak, they see the long axial sunlight fracturing the landscape, lighting their faces like an on-camera flash, every surface in high definition contrast, details separated. After a moment they begin their rapid descent, rushing into chlorinated water and ducking out of the light. The riders return to the platform, and Coyote picks up her whiskey soda and trots deeper into the interior.


 

Wessel Castle (b. 2012) is an ongoing collaborative archive from Alli Miller and Trey Burns’ travels and commutes into the megatexture of the American landscape.

Henry Wesselwoman (b. 2014) is an avatar that embodies revisionist praxis through a reconsideration of the New Topographics generation of landscape photography.

4.18.2014