The Lost Colony
Collaboration with Dean Dass.
Exhibited and performed at the New City Arts Gallery at the Radio IQ/National Public Radio local affiliate in Charlottesville, Virginia in May 2010.
“Almost exactly four hundred years ago an English artist was making the first drawings of part of the New World, later to be included in the states of North Carolina and Virginia, its peoples and natural life and the shape of its coasts and river estuaries. Some of the watercolours which resulted from these drawings have by a strange quirk of fate survived when so much else concerned with John White’s efforts failed or was lost: the colony of which he was the official artist; the second colony which he took out to Roanoke and governed briefly and which he failed to reinforce, then to locate, and which became the Lost Colony of legend.”
Foreword / Paul Hulton / The Complete Drawings of John White / 1984, The University of North Carolina Press
These works are excerpted, and subsequently developed, from a larger project published by The Printmakers Left in 2009, The New World. Here Dass and Witt re-imagine the fabled Lost Colony of John White on Roanoke Island. The concept Lost Colony is now updated and applied to our time. This collaborative project tries to imagine an historical event as if it were true for an entire civilization. What if we were wrong?
Pages are 6×10 inches. Open folios are 12×10 inches. The images generally consist of some combination of the following: collage, pencil, inkjet, etching, relief, photogravure, lithography, xerography, typing
THE LOST COLONY (an excerpt)
Works on paper with mica, a dialogue across time:
pregnant woman in a hotel bathroom & years
in an endlessly dizzying repetition of interconnected computers, men with helmets,
women, high altitude directional arrows, xerography, ultrasound, invisible ink,
words on a television screen, woman imploring the heavens with both arms raised
—after Dean Dass—
(in the hotel bathroom)
Finally, what you love is what your skin needs.
What’s the action? A pregnant woman,
at 12 1/2 weeks, in a hotel bathroom, at a conference, in Denver,
high altitude directional arrows, at 10 o’clock,
begins to bleed all over the bathroom floor,
so much that she can’t even clean it up.
When she gets to the ER—what’s the price?—
the entire hospital goes on security lockdown.
We’ve had multiple gunshot wounds tonight, the attractive nurse says.
“Private Thomas Dooney, Troop I, arrow hole in region of stomach, thorax cut open, head
cut off, and right shoulder cut by a tomahawk
One minute you feel like you’re getting somewhere1
The next, the hotel room has been entirely constructed, finally, around you.
An attractive woman on the television screen
(You’re lovely she says)
mimes a waterfall with her fingers
down her lovely glowing face.
How would you describe the motion you see?
How does it make you feel?
Like a member of the kingdom.
The Lost Colony. (A love story)2:
This was mystifying in the extreme
In a late chapter
“Corporal Harry Mercer, Troop E, bullet hole in right axilla, region of heart, eight arrow wounds in back, right ear [cut off,] head scalped, and skull fractured, deep gashes on both legs, and throat
“Sergeant-Major Walter Kennedy, bullet hole in right temple, head cut off,
her complexion being fair, her eyes
and her hair of a bright golden hue
she presented a marked
in region of stomach
immense territory [of the valley down the ridges of her spine]
so unlike the settled and cultivated portions
as my eye beheld it
a face strikingly handsome
a sharp clear blue eye
which stared me straight in the eye when conversing
almost bullet-proof in the eye
What’s the price? Fifty twice.
What’s the price? Very nice.
What’s the action? Satisfaction.
1You can look right through them but you can’t tell what they’re thinking because the people evade their very own lives 9:01 PM Sep 23rd via web from Weymouth, MA · Embed this Tweet
2Through which the people advance in little corpses & starched hospital beds & plastique figurines moved around the chessboard by a little girl Wed Sep 22 2010 10:49:32 (CDT) via web · Embed this Tweet