School of Film/Video
Two Trees is an installation featuring dual 16mm projection on loop. Each channel/projector features a tree pivotal to myths in California’s early history: the first a charred and wizened stump located at the campsite of the Donner family at Donner Lake; and the second Placerita Canyon’s lush Oak of the Golden Dream, which marks the first recorded discovery of gold in the region. Both of these stories are marked by fabrication and fabulation––the tree stump was not the actual site of the Donner camp (but is labeled as such) and the Oak of the Golden Dream was not the site of an unwitting farmer’s discovery of gold (as the story goes), but rather a trained miner––and predicate the influx of migration to the region during the Gold Rush era. Both trees are presented in stereoscope, a format of photography that reflected the height of scientific and voyeuristic visual culture in the 1850s, that aims to capture the perspective of binocular human vision.