Quebrada de Humahuaca Monument Generator
The Quebrada De Humahuaca Monument Generator is a reaction to a postcolonial history of misunderstanding, western egocentrism, and empty gestures. The work itself is an over-saturated mess of a program designed to, in its own understanding, allow you, the western designer, to assemble a monument or statue from categories of designs and ornaments to be airdropped into the Quebrada De Humahuaca mountain range, all under the guise of a gesture to a developing nation, a charity to increase tourism. The design options for the Monument range around the globe, yet all reside inside a hyper-westernized canon of either High Art or "Othered:Fetishized" cultures. Baroque, "Islamic", Apacheta, Buckminster Fuller, and "contemporary" (Jeff koons) to name a few. On the next screen you're prompted to pick a monumentee and iconography for the statue. Options range once again from Christianity, inca, and the argentine icon Gauchito Gil, to Daft Punk and RISD. In the final design phase you inscribe a message of your choosing onto the side of the monument before you pick the a location on the map and Airdrop the statue down below. From the other side of the program you can walk around the valley in first person, watching as these monuments fall from the sky in all their campy gracefulness before they hit the ground and break into pieces, Islamic motifs and daft punk logos scattering into an indistinguishable graveyard of western tropes. In the mid 1900s, leader of former Yugoslavia Josip Broz commissioned more than 100 monuments commemorating the victims of fascism. These statutes did not reference the war, or any particular ideology or iconography. They were completely geometric and abstract, placed in awkward spots just outside city limits or in remote areas. During the Yugoslavian Civil War, these monuments were some of the few that were not destroyed due to their location and materiality, as well as the fact that they had no iconography, so could be adopted by any nation, and that’s what happened. When the country was divided, the monuments (unlike many other statues and architectural styles) remained unscathed. The QdHMG, in short, is a reference to these yugoslavian monuments in inverse. Where their subtle geometry remains a constant despite the surrounding conditions, the loud and blatant offensiveness of the QdHMG stirs up controversy where it is not invited. If you'd like to consider the QdHMG for a show or other curatorial means, or would just like to play with it - send me an email at jsillen@risd.edu for the download link