Collage, Hand-painting, Handmade paper, Ink, Rubbing
12 × 18 in
Bibliothèque Nationale de Luxembourg
This book is a critical and poetic re-writing of the dominant White Supremacist narrative about the 1849 Goldrush on the West Coast of the United States. The conceptual goal of the book is to deconstruct the racist myths of that catastrophic era and to decolonize the imaginations of those times. While Caucasian militarized pioneers were welcomed immigrants by the Federal government during that period the book flows between the violence of welcoming colonialists (read white) and the current Federal government’s racist discourse against refugees and immigrants (read brown) in the 2000s.
The book collages images and forms poetry concrete via wax rubbings from historical markers all along the Goldrush invasion routes through Native American lands. Starting in Oregon with colonial historical markers and of the counter culture vortex at Ken Kesey’s Prankster Farm near Eugene and traveling down route 49 to Murphys, California a Goldrush town at the epicenter of the tragic invasion.
The texts of the historical markers in Murphys provide a detailed and graphic portrait of the brutal violence of those times, both in terms of racist violence and greed and the ensuing environmental disasters of fires and floods (due to the vast ecological catastrophes caused the gold mining and other colonial practices) that still plague California
Other collage sources include historical plaques and surfaces in Wolfenbuttel, Germany.
After the rubbings were all collaged the book was painted with Sumi and other inks, the dynamic relationship of resistance between the ink and the wax parallels the continuing resistance of indigenous peoples against colonialist interlopers.
The book is made of paper that incorporates both pulped and shredded childhood school documents from both the artist, Marshall Weber, and his daughter, Isabelle Weber. The paper is made by acclaimed artist and papermaker Robbin Ami Silverberg of Dobbins Mill Book and Paper in Brooklyn, NY.