Namaste, Motherf*cker investigates American mythology through the lens of California public lands, self-expression and moral-relativism. Focusing on the pervasive graffiti covering natural features of Southern California public lands as well as the subsequent attempts to “buff” these markings, the project highlights a visual tug of war that doubles as ideological. Does the word “public” mean “shared resource” or “belonging to no one”? These attitudes of samaritanship and narcissistic relativism, that is, freedom of expression that ostensibly rejects moral and societal responsibilities, in turn, play into the larger narrative of American attitudes about freedom and democracy as dissonant as the project’s title.
The project transcribes these marks it into a surrealist alphabet, an easily recognizable structure that shows the transition from individualized marks to a collective system. Aided by the use of a caption, viewers cannot help but begin interpreting even the most tentative and arbitrary as wholly aligned with the preordained structure, thereby exhibiting their own conditioning. These marks then re-occur throughout sculptural forms that combine the natural environment with surrounding architectural vernacular of southern California. By carefully re-creating and re-combining snippets of the American landscape, then showing its visible seams and armatures, the project points to the link between the mediation of these marginal sites and the power structures governing society.