Silent Sentinels

Along the invisible line that divides North and South Dakota lies a string of quartzite monuments, obelisks engraved with symbols and glyphs seemingly indecipherable to those except the men who placed them in this vast open landscape. These markers serve to separate a land that was, not long ago, united under a singular name that is now divided. A landscape bearing the name of the indigenous inhabitants from whom the land was stripped, bifurcated, and sold off parcel by parcel.

This line of stone monuments to politics, separation, and territoriality is documented and explored in the body of work titled “Silent Sentinels,” a series of photographs, photogrammetric models, and 3-D printed sculptures. Each of the objects makes no attempt to hide the cracks in their façades, lines left behind from the 3D printer, and exposed seams as a reference to the humanmade nature of their existence, not unlike their quartzite originals or the line that they demarcate.

Removed from the context of the landscape that they divide, these individual markers become impotent reminders of the power that these borderlines have socially, politically, and economically not only between the two states named “Dakota,” but all of the borderlines within and outside of the United States.

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