Title Page


National parking
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100150/00001
 Material Information
Title: National parking
Physical Description: Project in lieu of thesis
Language: English
Creator: Tankersley, Daniel ( Dissertant )
Stenner, Jack ( Thesis advisor )
Kline, Wes ( Reviewer )
Steiner, Shepherd ( Reviewer )
Publisher: College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010
Copyright Date: 2010
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Abstract: This project encompasses a body of artworks created in exploration of the national parks of the United States. Focus is leveled at the production of particular types of viewership and experiences of natural landscape within the institutions of national park and art gallery, as well as within a historical context of national identity and the formation of ideal citizenship. The images, objects, and sounds are products of visits by the artist to dozens of national parks, monuments, preserves, and scenic riverways. An exhibition of this work was staged October 13 to 22, 2009, in The Gallery at J. Wayne Reitz Union on the University of Florida campus. It included several printed texts and free-standing sculptural objects, such as Titled, mimicking National Parks Service road signs, brochures, and informational markers suggesting paths for navigating the exhibition space; Painted Wall, a series of five photographic prints (26 x 20 inches each); Nature Trail, seven digital paintings (large-scale color digital line art prints on canvas, 48 x 36 inches each); National Parking, an automated slideshow of more than 50 photographs (many of which appear in this book) made in national parks, art galleries and museums; gallery seating arranged to loosely resemble the interior of a car from which the slideshow could be viewed on a large computer monitor; Consequence Canyon, an interactive video game based on three-dimensional digital modeling of the Grand Canyon, with a free-standing custom controller, projected onto a reflective screen; Arches, a stereo audio installation of manipulated field recordings filling the space; and Gift Shop, a souvenir bottle of water presented as sculptural object. The work puts pressure on the construction of nature as a delineated concept by making visible the presence of human bodies and infrastructure in places valued for natural beauty. Signification is presented as a process located at the threshold (often informed by issues of scale) of perception of the visual image, and projection of personal and cultural interpretive frameworks upon it. A major component of the project involves explorations of the sign that move fluidly from one application of that word (sign) to another. Many of the photographs depict signage found within parks, inviting consideration of the ways in which linguistic texts are employed to prime the viewer for specific experiences of images of landscapes. Similarly, title cards and artist statements in the gallery setting are constructed to highlight their role in shaping experiential norms. Some elements of the project manifest materially with the trappings of road signs or viewpoint signage. They are physical signs, they depict signs, and they operate within systems of linguistic and visual signification. The role of the contemporary digital imager suggested for ideal participation in the experience of nature and/or art garners particular attention. As mapping and tourism grow ever more ubiquitous in a rapidly evolving, digitally mediated culture, questions arise to challenge notions of memory, ethical engagement, authenticity, and the spectacular. Definitions of reality and representation are found inextricably embedded within one another.
Acquisition: Art and Technology terminal project
Acquisition: Digital Media terminal project
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Title from title page of document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 22 p.; also contains graphics.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: Permissions granted to the University of Florida Institutional Repository and University of Florida Digital Collections to allow use by the submitter. All rights reserved by the author.
System ID: UF00100150:00001


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Full Text

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Daniel Tankersley

Summary of Project in Lieu of Thesis
Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Master of Fine Arts
Jack Stenner, Committee Chair
Wes Kline and Shepherd Steiner, Committee Members
School of Art + Art History

May 2010

To the art that understates its immediate encounter then avails upon memory with a
dissonant harmony.

After Smithson, Crater Lake National Park


National Parking was conceived in a station wagon with my wife, Becky Blanchard.
Her support and feedback have been invaluable to the development of this project.
Jack Stenner and Shepherd Steiner have gracefully endured my peculiar brand of
engagement through more courses than any other educators. I thank them for their
patience and encouragement. Katerie Gladdys and Wes Kline have inspired and guided
me, showing the way to new territories and helping securely ground my bases. It has
been wonderful to share three years with Sheila Bishop and Patrick LeMieux, my good
friends and colleagues in the digital media art program at UF.

Car Camping, Mammoth Cave National Park


As destinations, the institutions of national park and art gallery both offer transcendent
experience in a public setting and derive authority or importance from notions of
beauty. These spaces hold opportunities for extraordinary engagement with objects
and images, and grant permission for absorption and communion with creation. Their
spectacular potential is the product of boundaries. Physical infrastructure including
roads, fences, walls, and signage condition the visitor toward a privileged range of
intellectual, recreational or spiritual behavior.

Representation of these moments of transcendence, to the extent they are
representable, has received strong attention throughout the history of art. Much of
the most compelling landscape photography of the past several decades has clearly
demonstrated the human interruption of natural places. My work focuses somewhere
in between, on the ways in which structures mediating movement and signifcation
are employed to produce the immediate.

Nature Trail, The Gallery at J. Wayne Reitz Union

Signs Posing, Petroglyph National Monument

Mixed Messages, Natchez Trace Parkway

Human Presence, Badlands National Park

Woman With Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park

Influx, Yellowstone National Park

Platform, Grand Canyon National Park

Train, Scottsbluff National Monument

Tour Boat, Crater Lake National Park


The performance of photography is not limited to the creation of artifacts for future
reference. It also functions as an instantaneous reality check or proofing of the body
relating to an image or landscape. For many visitors, imaging is the prime experiential
action, not simply documentation of some other experience. Though I may have seen
El Capitan or the Mona Lisa hundreds of times in books or movies, I am still compelled
to make my own photograph. In a way, tourist photography is always a portrait of the
body enacting somatic proximity to a specific space.

The image does not only come from the landscape or artwork and meet the eye, as
though the body alone contained the apparatus of perception. Cognitive, physical,
and emotional structures expect and project the image onto its materiality. A self
is present between projecting body and perceived object, the process of picturing
hinting at its expanse. The artifact becomes an extension of the body as well, and in
a way, the beholder of another's image shares in that process of self.

Functional Self-Portrait, Grand Canyon National Park

Truthing, Crater Lake National Park

Truthing, Crater Lake National Park


.. ...... .... .. .


The early 20th century saw Theodore Roosevelt and Marcel Duchamp make strikingly
similar moves in regard to power and the boundaries of transcendent space.
Duchamp's Fountain inaugurated the role of artist as executive designator a few
years after Roosevelt allocated hundreds of millions of acres to national parks and
monuments. Retrospectively, it is Roosevelt's boundaries that seem to define the
ultimate readymades. Delineations of wilderness founded on the absence of human
bodies and activity are profoundly challenged when their most obvious examples
become explicitly managed by human conceptual order.

Gift Shop, The Gallery at J. Wayne Reitz Union

Priceless, Biscayne National Park

Subtext, Natchez Trace Parkway


Nature is a set of all possibilities, including humankind, and a concept negotiated
by human thought and action. The idealized wilderness environment isolated from
cultural pressures is unavailable in practice, as the natural world requires significant
construction. Access to areas emblematic of natural beauty usually relies upon an
automobile and the construction of roads, manipulations of physical reality. This
reality is constructed in the process of perception and projection. The body implicated
in that process is composed of physical elements, forming a loop structure of subject
and object.

Parking, Scottsbluff National Monument

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Parking, Newberry National Volcanic Monument

......... .... ..
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Parking, White Sands National Monument

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Signs relate distance, direction, and history. They provide contextual narrative
at waypoints and vistas, suggesting paths for navigation. The roads they describe
allow movement along specific trajectories. Do these structures facilitate experience
or discipline the visitor toward a limited set of possibilities? Yes. Defacement and
illiteracy constitute strategies of resistance.

Painted Wall and Titled, The Gallery at J. Wayne Reitz Union

Overlook, Grand Canyon National Park

Radiant, Lassen Volcanic National Park

Oak 4a

Language Barrier Biscayne National Park

Magritte vs DHJ, Natchez Trace Parkway

Speak For Yourself, Natchez Trace Parkway

Magic, Natchez Trace Parkway


As people and images travel, they produce a set of contradictions. Place becomes
non-place and vice-versa. The same amenities await at each freeway exit as part of
a journey that instills a sense of freedom. Perhaps we are convinced of the grandeur
of this nation by our spectacular encounters with the art and landscape it claims.
Perhaps we are disillusioned by their packaging. In either case, we can acknowledge
uncertainty and continue living.

Consequence Canyon, The Gallery at J. Wayne Reitz Union

Morning, Grand Tetons National Park

Futurity Arches National Park


Adams, Ansel, Andrea Gray Stillman, and William A. Turnage. Our National Parks.
Boston: Little, Brown, 1992. Print.

Battcock, Gregory. Idea Art; a Critical Anthology New York: Dutton, 1973. Print.

Baudrillard, Jean. America. London: Verso, 1988. Print.

Cronon, William. Uncommon Ground: toward Reinventing Nature. New York: W.W.
Norton &, 1995. Print.

Fox, William L. View Finder: Mark Klett, Photography, and the Reinvention of
Landscape. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 2001. Print.

Fried, Michael, and Adolph Menzel. Menzel's Realism: Art and Embodiment in
Nineteenth-century Berlin. New Haven: Yale UP, 2002. Print.

Harries, Karsten. "The Ethical Significance of Environmental Beauty." Architecture,
Ethics, and the Personhood of Place. Hanover: University of New England,
2007. 134-50. Print.

King, Dale S. Arizona's National Monuments. Santa Fe, N.M.: Printed by the Prescott
Courier, 1945. Print.

MacCannell, Dean. The Tourist: a New Theory of the Leisure Class. New York:
Schocken, 1976. Print.

Misrach, Richard, and Reyner Banham. Desert Cantos. Albuquerque: University of
New Mexico, 1987. Print.

The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Dir. Ken Burns. By Dayton Duncan. Florentine
Films and WETA, 2009.

Pool, Peter E., Patricia Nelson Limerick, Dave Hickey, and Thomas W. Southall. The
Altered Landscape. Reno: Las Vegas, 1999. Print.