Brooklyn based artist Mark Reigelman partnered up with architect Jenny Chapman and engineer Paul Endres to put a modern spin on the concept of Manifest Destiny by creating a 19th century-style cabin and installing it in one of the few remaining unoccupied spaces of downtown San Francisco.
Manifest Destiny was a mid-19th century policy and concept ordaining the triumph of civilisation over savagery based on the insistence that it was the “mission” of [European] Americans to expand the boundaries of freedom (and Christianity) across the continent and impart their idealism and values on those capable of self-government.
This movement capitalised on the already held notion of a restless American people with unclear borders and fostered an identity of expansion safely ensconced by the notion that it was not only a God-given right to expand westward but also a duty. Conveniently, it also served as justification for confiscating Native American and Mexican lands.
San Francisco Bay was seen as the ultimate western destination, not least for its promises of grandeur during the California Gold Rush.
The site specific installation, Manifest Destiny!, attached to the side of the Hotel des Arts and above the Le Central restaurant, is startlingly eye-catching when seen from street level and its interior which contains sparse furnishings and a wood-burning stove can be glimpsed through the windows. Constructed with vintage materials the cabin is meant to capture the essence of Westward expansion and the mythology that surrounded it.
Manifest Destiny! is a temporary installation commissioned by Southern Exposure and funded by the Graue Family Foundation and will remain on view until 28 October 2012.
Check out Reigelman’s webiste for more pics and info regarding the project including installation shots, construction blueprints and the creative process in the studio.
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