The Gardens of the West
HD Video Installation, 13:47 minutes
The Gardens of the West title alludes to late 19th century U.S. Federal poster advertisements for homesteading the American West. This history of colonization used the guise of Manifest Destiny and “land improvement” through farming practices, deeply informing American migration, land ownership, and agricultural industry. Dorothea Lange, hired by the Farming Security Administration during the 1930s, famously photographed rural poverty and climate crisis caused by the exploitation of labor and land. The mirage of the garden transformed into dust.
This film examines the way these complex histories manifest within contemporary wheat farming in the Palouse region of Eastern Washington. Considering whiteness, industry, and climate crisis as persisting forces on this landscape, how can intimacy, stillness, and vulnerability counter the narrative? Through slow meditative observation and gestural interventions, the past, present, and future collide.
Amrita Stützle is an Austrian-American artist and educator with a focus on lens-based media. Her work investigates the continued presence of historical events concerning gender, ritual, labor, and environment.
Artist website: www.amritastutzle.com