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No More Sad, Sad, Bad Lands

Cross-Country USA (2012)

✳ Collaborator: Paul Richardson


“The journey is difficult, immense. We will travel as far as we can, but we cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know. Lights come and go in the night sky. Men, troubled at last by the things they build, may toss in their sleep and dream bad dreams, or lie awake while the meteors whisper greenly overhead. But nowhere in all space or on a thousand worlds will there be men to share our loneliness.” Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mysteries of Man and Nature

From a series of collaborative road residencies that navigated the internal and external spaces we choose to occupy. Each mobile research project was an effort at reading North American landscape and exploring the poetics of big spaces in small ways.


No More Sad, Sad, Bad Lands explored the canyons, ravines, gullies, and hoodoos* of the middle America. Slow-motioning from Chicago, Illinois to Palouse, Washington, with special attention to les mauvaises terres a traverser, this project was an experiment in remembering and forgetting the one-million years of earth under your dusty feet. Histories and chronologies are the shoulders we stand on when jumping universal fences. The firmament of time is more than a friendship. It is an always ending found in beginning again. An inquisition and an exorcism of ever versus after, building a biography, and wuthering the weather systems moving through our minds.

The precise moment when, the pause before, the look the leap, the 70,00 fathoms of time that make up the empty and the overfull. Lines of longing and the stories that a lifeline tells when cut into a canyon. A serrated terrain made by wind and waves, like rain from the sky for, let's take a walk towards back when this was all our ancient ocean.

*These spaces included: Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, the Wisconsin Dells, Rabbit Rock, the glacial potholes and basalt gorges of the St. Croix River, Fort Pierre National Grasslands, South Dakota's Badlands, the Black Hills,  Custer National Forest, Little Missourri National Grasslands, North Dakota's Badlands (Theodore Roosevelt National Park), Montana's flatlands, the North Rocky Mountains, Helena National Forest, Lewis and Clark National Forest, Lolo National Forest, North Idaho, and the Palouse.
 

Mark