On exhibition at CentralTrak is the four-channel video installation, Gallup Motel Butchering, by artists' collective Postcommodity. In the artists' words, this work "explores the culturally sensible Indigenous perceptions and engagements juxtaposed with the theoretical ideas presented by Western thought.”
The video installation features a Navajo woman using a motel in Gallup, New Mexico as a temporary space to butcher a sheep that she will prepare for a family feast. The exhibition examines the contested space of tribal homeland, tradition, globalism, commerce, cultural continuity and cross-cultural opinion.
Postcommodity is presenting a particular kind of collision when a cultural process may seem irrational or disturbing to an outsider. However in pragmatic indigenous terms, this tradition of sourcing food/meat acknowledges the interconnectedness of land, culture and community.
This motel scenario throws a kink into our romantic notions of visiting and observing Native American peoples. The setting provides a disruption, muddling past and present. The motel in question was constructed on the traditional homelands of the Navajo people. Said hotel gives tourists familiar comforts - acting as a touchstone perhaps, while they are observe cultural traditions that are unfamiliar.
As an audience to this video installation, we are once again in the role of the tourist/colonizer viewing cultural tradition seemingly out-of-context against the assumptions of the Western imagination.
Following the opening reception, the exhibit will be on display through February 21.