Pass the Hat (paper)
Pass the Hat (paper) is an 18.5ft. totem pole made of 10,800 pieces of paper.
I am the thunderbird who is placing a Watchman’s hat upon the head of the bear/human, who is my daughter. As I pass the hat to her, I am giving my knowledge of our culture and lineage. I am telling her where she came from; I am sharing the ways in which we communicate and express ourselves through art. As I give myself to her, she becomes the thunderbird, the watchman, and the bear all at once. She becomes responsible for carrying on the traditions of our family. As she watches over her generation, I watch over her.
Totems sustain and relay cultural narratives and stories of clan lineage, history, and family. The bear and the thunderbird are illustrative symbols of power and domination, but they are also symbols of resistance and responsibility. I am interested in documenting the strength of the enduring symbols of my culture, while at the same time, addressing it’s fragility due to colonial practices of oppression.
Pass the Hat (paper) reconstitutes traditional totem pole construction through contemporary industrial processes. It does the same with industrial and digital processes themselves by transposing the subordinate position of culture to technology. In this way it encompasses and addresses changing practices and points to the interpenetration of industry and culture, imagination and reason.
Pass the Hat (paper) communicates the ephemeral and lasting nature of ideology, narrative, and the variations method and form can both take and give to ritual and story.