This book, reluctantly jammed into one sentence, is the documentation of my reconciliation with a moment of change, disillusionment and frustration that occurred around the time when I was a sophomore in high school -- around the time I moved from my home in Montana to Las Vegas, Nevada. It houses symbolic objects and settings in relation to my own grievances with greed, oil, nostalgia and small town America.
Born as a reaction to the Bakken oil boom -- a rush of industry, metal, sweat and greed to eastern Montana -- and my grandfather's part in leasing his farmland as a site for hydraulic fracturing, this project initially took the form of a series of photographs depicting America's heartland, my homeland, as a toxic, dying dystopia. It was a future I thought was well deserved. Through the span of four years and many ideations, changes and considerations, this project has finally materialized in book form. I realized soon after the creation of those photographs that an initial reaction born out of anger was important to consider, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. After all, I still loved Montana. I still loved my grandfather.
Somewhere along the line I became very interested in the consideration of oil -- a natural substance that is the driving force of industry, and the photograph -- a man made object that houses natural human emotion and memories. These motifs became central themes of this project. Although an oil-like substance is rarely seen, the stigma that comes along side the presence of oil is heavily felt. I chose to make use of gimmicky 3D effects to exaggerate distances in space, but also as a satirical attempt to make the book seem more "real", more lifelike. Interactions with illustration, photography and text are also used to bring together three seemingly separate narrative timelines.
In a way, I believe this final product is a critique of myself. In its original photographic and dystopian form, light years away from the beauty and criticality of creations such as Chris Marker's La Jettée, my singular vision of the future could not be productive. In this new form, however, that initial dystopian vision becomes consumed and destroyed by the "evils" that continue to exist, having done nothing to actually work toward solving the problem, or even attempt to propose a solution. It is more of a confession -- my attempt to be self aware. My hope is that this transparency, this exposition of criticality and growth around my own thought processes and emotional conflicts, will mean much more than the product I initially set out to create ever could. Most importantly, this project and process has become a call for criticality unto oneself and what we, as artists, designers, and people, put into this world. Otherwise, what will survive?