Humans have long been trespassers on natural land, it’s a phenomenon that’s far from new. Traveling across the world to find a patch of land you could call your own is a practice dating back centuries to the earliest days of colonialism. In the case of the United States, the land served as the main tool and the functional companion in the creation of what we now refer to as “the American way”. Long after we started traveling inland from rural farmlands and into the urban metropolis, the American lifestyle still finds itself heavily influenced by our relationship to the land and how we exist within it. In the post-war period, America became a land fascinated and heavily influenced by travel once again; traveling far and wide by bus, car or plane to see the natural landscape allowed for a collective sense of security and provided new methods of physical and cultural exploration. An act that became so commonplace in domestic vernacular, the status of bodies in transit has faced many setbacks over the past two decades. What was once a seen as a glamorous attribute to one’s lifestyle is now seen as a burden with the hyper militarization and increased surveillance of “public space” in airports, bus depots and train stations- among many others. Items that were once deemed necessary for travel (large trunks, beauty cases, etc.) have lost their primary function and have become little more than products of antiquity and novel. Within the confines of travel ports, even on the open road, we are no longer considered the masters of our own destiny. Our bodies, our property and our ideas have become heavily policed and America is no longer a land of free travel and our destiny is no longer “manifest”.
TRESPASS seeks to explore the lost relationship between Americans and the process of traveling, as it once was. By questioning our current modes of practice to our functional past we can begin to see the cracks in the façade of public space and how we have truly become trespassers and the destructors of our land, or land that we have long perceived as our own. TRESPASS will establish an alternative safe space for two American artists, Kathleen Vance and Zachary Fabri, to question the temporality and shifting atmospheres of “the public” landscape from both urban and rural perspectives. Combining video, sound and a sculptural installation, the space created at EXPO Chicago will allow viewers an intimate experience with the works and provide a place of reflection; where one is able to confront themselves as a tool of disruption in natural landscapes or the backdrop of a concrete jungle.
Dealing with overarching themes of race, religion, class and the re-appropriation of pop culture the work of Zachary Fabri often deconstructs and unpacks the way in which certain bodies exist within the confines of a city. Quite often his base idea dictates the form in which the project will take. Fabri appropriates popular tropes and recognizable systems, constructing his own conceptual foundation for framing his work, usually working outside the guidelines of traditional modes of practice. Similarly, many images and actions are dislocated and re-contextualized for greater critical impact. Context becomes a crucial factor – whether it is a specific country or a physical space – the work is contingent upon this factor. Many themes arise from the streets of Harlem,New York where Fabri lives and works, his ideas are collected from his everyday experiences and activities. The work occasionally results in semi-autobiographical themes, but also seeks to create a broader conversation about the presence of what it means to be a man of color within urban spaces.
Kathleen Vance is an environmental artist known predominantly for her Traveling Landscape, series of miniaturized landscapes in travel-worn suitcases. Presented in partially opened beauty cases and vintage travel trunks, her works depict handcrafted, imagined scenes of nature often with running streams, rivers and tributaries. The installation Traveling Landscape explores the relationship of man to nature, as well as manufactured nature and the urban environment. Vance utilizes both live and artificial materials in her work, as she often constructs site specific projects keeping the concept in mind within certain context. Her work allows viewers to question their preconceived notions and relationship to the natural world and allows them to reconsider issues of ownership to the ‘authenticity’ of landscapes.