Driving East investigates how myths of American mobility developed during Manifest Destiny continue to operate today. We use the familiar form of the road trip to rethink how the present-day landscape was forged by the linked processes of white westward migration on the one hand and Indian removal and resistance on the other. By engaging with archival records, contemporary stories, images, and ephemera, we hope to uncover, recover, expose, and re-present traces of these histories still resonant, if barely legible, in the landscapes and politics of a place. As white people, we believe these processes continue to shape the physical, social, and political spaces we inhabit today, most obviously through place names, museums, and memorials but more subtly through unconscious patterns of speech and behavior that reveal a great deal about how different groups of people imagine, inhabit and move through the United States.
Note: This project evolved into the photo-text book, Re-Collecting Black Hawk.
Milwaukee, WI – Walker’s Point Center for the Arts
Nicholas Brown and Sarah Kanouse, “Driving East Through Indian Country,” video and photographic installation, self-published artists’ book on the commemorative landscapes of Westward Expansion, 2007.