Skip to Content ☰ Open Filter >>

Ryochi’s Journal: Sh?wago, July 13, USA, Tucson, from the Nagatani-Ryoichi Excavations Series

Showing 1 of 1

Ryochi’s Journal: Sh?wago, July 13, USA, Tucson, from the Nagatani-Ryoichi Excavations Series

7 1/8 x 9 3/8 in. (18.1 x 23.8 cm)

Patrick Ryoichi Nagatani, American, (1945–2017)

Object Type: Fine and visual arts
Creation Place: North and Central America, United States, Arizona
Medium and Support: Cibachrome
Credit Line: Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, CSU, gift of the artist, 2014.8.21
Accession Number: 2014.8.21
Excavations (1985-2000)
The Nagatani / Ryoichi Excavation project is built around a narrative that offers an account of excavations undertaken by an enigmatic Japanese archaeologist, Ryoichi. In 1985, Ryoichi and his team received a set of maps which were interpreted as pointing to sites scattered throughout the world. The sites were in areas with significant archaeological or historical remains - Chaco Canyon, Herculaneum, Stonehenge - or with monuments to our own technological age - The Very Large Array, Kitt Peak National Observatory. The archaeologists spent the next fifteen years secretly excavating the sites excavated by Ryoichi's team, I present evidence of an alternative past, one in which a Jaguar automobile was ceremoniously buried within the foundations of the Observatory at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, and a Ferrari emerges from a volcanic shroud at Herculaneum. My field photographs are the only record of Ryoichi's excavation campaign that remains.

My photographs of Ryoichi's excavations present a temporal paradox - evidence of an automobile culture which seems to parallel that of our own twentieth century, but found in widely disparate places and times. I follow Ryoichi's single-minded, almost obsessive campaign until the team confronts the last site. We read and come to know "deep history" - past before written record - from archaeological sequences read as text. The maps, the site plans, the careful record of successive layers of habitation - photographed, these elements of archaeological evidence insist on their truthfulness as scientific discourse and photographic record. I layer the elements we accept as scientific record to construct an alternate reading of the past, and alternative stratigraphy of truth and illusion. With this project I hope to challenge us to examine the ways in which photography creates, recreates, or supports a particular history. I want to consider what we accept as evidence and why. I hope to orchestrate our understanding of the archaeologists' quest and suggest that it may have meaning for our own approach to the unknown.

This project expresses my interest in testing the realities that can exist within the realm of photography and physical documentation. I am interested in how the photograph is also recognized less as a window on the "real," and far more as a malleable picture space - constructed and contrived for the purpose of examining representation rather than reality. I am interested in the potential of photography to tell a story.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

Your current search criteria is: Objects is "Ryochi’s Journal: Sh?wago, July 13, USA, Tucson, from the Nagatani-Ryoichi Excavations Series".