Rema Hort Mann Foundation

Daniel Small

My current projects proceed by investigating the criteria that constitute a historical record, and whether the supposed objectivity of reclaiming the material evidence of the past in the present is even desirable since history is arguably written from the unreliability and partiality of lived and invested memories, myths, ideologies, stories, and dreams. Through this lens history has become a realist fiction privileged for its representation of the past that is constructed through truth claims and the conventions of temporal logic and verisimilitude comprehensible to those in the present. In a triangulation of past, present, and future my projects engage with representations and their subsequent re-presentations where the dubious unreliability of potentially wrong tales enhance their historical value in that they allow us to recognize the interests of the tellers, and the intentions and desires behind them. Some recent and ongoing projects include an archaeological excavation of a 1923 film set used in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments that was buried in Guadalupe California, a series of ten billboards installed along interstate 10 in New Mexico that depict a fabricated language based on a faux historical site in the state, and a Jacquard tapestry mimicking an ancient still life that was interpolated in the present to re-present it’s dubious provenance as a working Photoshop file. These recent projects come in a myriad of forms, and are concerned with becoming fully aware and productively suspicious that history is always being imaginatively figured as it is seemingly figured out.