We are on a cross-country road trip from Madison to San Diego, CA. We are traveling historic routes such as the Oregon Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, and the Mormon Battalion Trail—following small highways and back roads. We deviate from these routes according to serendipity, intuition, weather conditions and unpredictable conversations–much the same forces that established the original routes. Part of the plan is to disrupt our own fixed notions of the American West, the mythology of which has greatly influenced the American mindset.

Along the way, we are collecting information (personal stories, local histories, facts and fictions) with a variety of tools—video, photography, audio recording, and writing. We are asking ourselves the question: “What is American?”  While we don’t expect to locate a definitive answer, our goal is to broaden the inquiry. We feel this cannot be accomplished in the vacuum of an art studio or in the stacks of a library. Pertinent clues can only be found in the field.

In San Diego, BA has a semester-long artist’s residency in the School of Art, Design and Art History at SDSU. It seemed such a great location for our collaborative work (and you can’t beat the weather in January!). We will be using this opportunity to continue our investigation and sift through our field data within a studio setting, transforming raw material into the fodder of our multi-media installations. “Arriving in Aporia” will take the shape of several of these installations in artist spaces and galleries over the next few years.

This blog will serve as a diary for the trip. Click here for Day 1.