09 March 2021

An Inheritance of Visual Memories in the United States

09 March 2021 - Written by PhMuseum

In her series Imag[in]ing America, Jennifer Garza-Cuen examines a collection of national, regional, and local identities throughout the United States as a means to call into question the true essence of places.

Our society treats place as a central identifying characteristic, second only to name and followed closely by profession. We all have a catalogue of images in our mind that we call upon when a city, town, or country's name is mentioned and those images help us to form an opinion of the place and those we meet from there.

What is it that makes us ‘of’ a place? As a former American expatriate and one who has lived my adult life essentially placeless, this is a central question in my work. In my ongoing project Imag[in]ing America, I am interested in investigating national, regional, and local identities as well as ideas of otherness as they relate to place and documentary photography in America.

Photographs have the ability to expand and compress time. They speak of what was, what is, and what will be. We look to photographs to remember and often reenact what we see, pushing old images into the future. Imag[in]ing America depicts a series of locations in the United States as a residue of the cultural memory; an inheritance. It is a metaphorical memoir; a narrative re-telling of facts and fictions and a discovery of the dreamland that still is America.

Words and Pictures by Jennifer Garza-Cuen.


Jennifer Garza-Cuen is an artist/educator based in San Antonio, Texas. A 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, her recent awards include BJP’s Female In Focus, Light Work, and the Robert Rauschenberg Residency Award. Her forthcoming monograph, Past Paper // Present Marks: Responding to Rauschenberg, with Odette England will be published by Radius Books. Find her on PHmuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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