SOUVENIRS: Montalvo Historical Fabrications & Souvenirs
Before digital books-- before books-- we used to sit around a fire telling stories. Rekindle the days of verbal narrative with this, The Muir Kindle 1.1
John Muir and the Sierra Club fought vigorously to stop the damming of Hetch Hetchy valley. Muir regarded it as "one of Nature's rarest and most precious mountain temples." Undaunted, Phelan tried again in 1903, again in 1905, again in 1907. He believed that a dam in Hetch Hetchy would provide drinking water and electricity. It would also free San Francisco from the monopoly of the Spring Valley Water Company.
Despite their drastic difference in opinion, James Phelan held John Muir in high regard. To honor him, there is a bronze bust of John Muir at the entrance to the trails behind the villa.
For two months we activated the gallery space, working four days a week on new products labeled with re-examined stories.
Located at the Montalvo Arts Center, a historical site at Villa Montalvo, California, this project presents to the public a souvenir shop that is a "front" for re-examining the complex issues of commerce, empire, and the repackaging of historical narrative. Rough-hewn display tables hold an array of strange and contradictory products such as bottled water ("Hetch-Hetchy Elixir"), false precious stones ("Genuine Faux Fool's Gold"), as well as salvaged remnants of other artists artworks. Viewers are able to peer through and walk around the lattice-like sales counter made of recycled pallets, to see the production space where everything is explicitly made.