Over the past five years, Everything Is Collective has made experimental works in response to how the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) uses visuality, photography, and images as a crucial part of its land management policies. These policies dictate the ways the nation’s public lands and natural resources are understood, apportioned, conserved, and exploited. Specifically, this project investigates a little known, but highly significant, land management policy called the Visual Resource Management System (VRM). The Visual Resource Management System is used by the BLM to determine the “scenic or visual” values of America’s public lands.
This modular project includes works in photography, appropriation, and video that subvert the guidance, protocols, and imagery presented by the VRM system. The title of the exhibition is an appropriation of the natural resource management term, expected image. An expected image is a mental picture of what a person expects to see in a natural landscape; it implies a feedback loop between art and nature. The collective’s goal is to make new visual works that challenge accepted conceptions of nature, conventional landscape epistemologies, anthropocentric viewpoints, land use interpretation, and capitalist values as they relate to the western landscape.
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