The Sunsets There – New Orientalism and manifest destiny.
New Orientalism : there is much talk about china, I have friends from there and hear about it on the bus. I share a current American fascination with this new engine on the world stage. The Sunsets There addresses this fascination and alien future which seems somehow locked with our own. The visual are from national parks, Yosemite Valley and Joshua Tree (I rode a bicycle through both). The Mao images are from a video recording I made flipping through some Chinese currency a friend had brought back from his travels. The bills are from the fifth series of the renminbi,(1999) in which all the bill faces were printed with Mao Zedong’s portrait on them. The footage of the shadowy figures is the only video from the alleged police attack on artist Ai Weiwei, the line-scan images are from the same documentary on the artist. In the line-scans you can sometimes recognize subtitles and figures. The shadowy figures and line-scans from the documentary move horizontally, in the manner of something passing by. Lastly a sequence which mirrors the Chinese Currency sequence, this time it’s the high desert of Joshua Tree at sunset, with coda of a last vertical pan on a western view.