Looking for Ishi: Insurgent Movements through the Yahi Landscape

Christopher August
InSITE 2003  •  Volume 3  •  2003
In 1911 a Yahi man wandered out of the Northern California landscape and into the twentieth century. He was immediately collected and installed at the just opened Anthropology Museum by Alfred Kroeber at the University of California's Parnassus Heights campus. Dedication invitations came from the U.C. Regents led by Phoebe Apperson Hearst. Maintaining the discretion of his indigenous culture this man would not divulge his name. Kroeber named him Ishi, the Yahi word for man. These assembled facts introduce narrative streams that continue to unfold around us. To examine these contingent individuals, events and institutions collectively labeled Ishi myth is to examine our own position, our horizon. Looking for Ishi is a series of interventions and appropriations of Ishi myth involving video installation, looping DVD, encrypted motion images, web work, streaming video, print objects, written and spoken word, and documentation of the author's own insurgent movements through the Yahi landscape. [The following is a summary of an art, writing, and media project in progress.]
Ishi, canon, insurgent, media, institutions
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