LANDLOOKER! A Cursory Survey of Land-Use Traveling from New York to California and Back Again, 2008 – 2017

by Anne Beck

Showcase 2017
Showcase 2017

LANDLOOKER! A Cursory Survey of Land-Use Traveling from New York to California and Back Again, 2008 – 2017

LANDLOOKER! A Cursory Survey of Land-Use Traveling from New York to California and Back Again, 2008 – 2017  revisits and expands upon the work I was doing in New York prior to moving to Northern California. I was living in a part of Brooklyn that was in various stages of development & abandonment where wildlife was both controlled and unruly, working in a shiny part of Manhattan in the film & television industry, and spending holidays on the rugged Mendocino coast with my mother {newly transplanted from Virginia, where I originated.} From the stark contrasts between these environments arose a series of wall-based collages & public interventions – hybrid landscapes of cut & recombined images that examined the collision between civilization, the land, and its inhabitants and divergent concepts of land-use: urban & rural, developed & conserved, cultivated & paved, sustained & depleted.
In 2008, I moved from Brooklyn to Fort Bragg, CA to help care for my mother who’d been diagnosed with cancer. As we traversed the country I took thousands of photographs from the passenger seat of the 26’ moving truck documenting the roadside landscapes, with the intention of continuing this work & expanding it to large scale two & three-dimensional  installations. Upon arrival, I sent files back to my cohorts at the graphics lab I’d just departed & several weeks later had a stack of wide format digital prints ready for my Exacto knife & paint spilling. Then my mom died. Everything came to a halt.
When I was able to begin working again, the work went in different directions, most notably co-founding and directing Lost Coast Culture Machine. Now, nearly 9 years later, that stack of photos continues to call to me. Transitioning slowly from Lost Coast Culture Machine to something else: Anne Beck. The Landlooker Society. I find myself in a deeply reflective space. The process of cutting, deconstructing, and reconfiguring these images is a meditative one & at the end of an era, returning to the beginning with a shift in perspective – from urban to rural  –seems  a fitting ongoing exercise.
As a vocation, LANDLOOKING falls somewhere between scout, explorer, surveyor & prospector.Dispatched into the wilderness, the landlooker’s task was to search for prime stands of timber & accessible logging terrain. Not so different from oil and gas landmen of today – they searched for land with excellent resources to extract. The contemporary landlooker embraces the exploratory,investigatory, and cataloging aspects of the job, but explores the land for documentary & analytical purposes in an effort to find prescriptions for healing.
At North Street Collective, I intend to work toward an exhibition of Landlooker! at NIAD Art Centerin Richmond, CA in November 2017.  Focusing. Pouring lots of paper outside. Interacting. Embracing
collectivity & community.
North Street Collective
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