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Historic roadside markers of Georgia exist for the public as “charming anecdotes,” a flimsy surrogate for history, while simultaneously satiating and alienating their viewers through scale and position. Using Situationist tactics of détournement, Dodd graduate candidate, Annie Simpson, alters these markers so that they become even more simply constructed and irreverent, devolving into mad-libs style dead pan. The markers, flags, and armatures, scale shifts, redaction, photochemical processes, automatic drawing, and sutures, make no sense of history. At times they seem confrontational or overwhelming, yet disarticulate or unintelligible.
This exhibition is an investigation into the construction of these markers and the ways in which they create meaning. The text distracts the viewer from the marker’s intended function, fictive narratives give way to the construction of a commemorative landscape with political and racialized ends. By critiquing the language of these markers and the politics imbedded in them-- the myth of the Old South, the obfuscation of histories of racial violence, and the continued denial of the histories of non-white resistance--Simpson situates these markers as part of the regional cultural infrastructure. Thus, it is plainly revealed that spatialization is not only what regulates race, but, indeed, how race exists.
Annie Simpson was born in North Carolina and is currently an MFA student at the University of Georgia. She was a 2019 fellow with Monument Lab (as part of Take Action Chapel Hill) and has forthcoming exhibitions with the Goethe-Institute North America at their Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Washington, DC locations. She has exhibited recently at the Carrack (Durham), Purdue University, and the University of North Carolina.
Virtual Artist Talk: October 5, 7pm
https://zoom.us/j/99726078394 Meeting ID: 997 2607 8394