Much of the American self-identity has been informed by its perceived relationship with the landscape. From the beginning, representations of the West have always been a type of sales pitch: a dream to believe in, a commodity to be sold on – an advertisement for an idea. The attraction to these untouched lands lay in the fact that most humans were never meant to see them, much less inhabit them. The idea was the promise of conquest, of asserting our will over places so inhospitable nothing there dared exist.
Scattered throughout the West are numerous sites where the chance still remains to experience those grand vistas the way they existed before our arrival. However, when an individual considers the banal infrastructure created to appreciate those vistas, they’re confronted with a markedly different experience: the illusion is exposed– the only unspoiled view is the one created for our entertainment. An opportunity to behold the bleached bones of Manifest Destiny fulfilled.
VACATION creates memories of things that never really existed, of places I’ve never really seen, and most of all, allows me to imagine myself as having once been “here.”
john brinton hogan