BLUE RIDGE, LAVENDER MARKS: TOWARD UNSETTLING THE MOUNTAINEER
A SERIES OF PROPOSAL-BASED WORKS ENVISIONED FOR APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY'S TURCHIN CENTER FOR VISUAL ARTS IN BOONE, NORTH CAROLINA
GREAT AUNT GERTRUDE'S GOLF GETAWAY
NORTH STATE CANNING COMPANY
NOT A SINGLE PENNY + REAGANOMICS + GAY BILL OF RIGHTS/
TOWARD AN ANTHROPOLOGY OF HOMOPHOBIA AND THE SETTLER STATE
(Feat. W.H. Plemmons, Former Appalachian State University President)
Blue Ridge, Lavender Marks: Toward Unsettling the Mountaineer is an exhibition motivated by deep family connections in Boone, Appalachian State University, Watauga County, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The University’s founders - Blanford Barnard Dougherty, Dauphin Disco Dougherty, and Lillie Shull Dougherty - are my maternal ancestors. However, Blue Ridge, Lavender Marks is about potential social, political, and cultural framing around, adjacent, and through family history in relation to place; it attempts a queer and settler colonial analytic, which is necessarily co-constituent of many structures, processes, and narratives. The proposed exhibition is a sobering celebration: a multilateral interrogation of power, myth, construction, and agency that enables family history in Appalachia - institutional or otherwise - to be claimed at all.
Blue Ridge, Lavender Marks primarily responds to Appalachian State University’s “symbolic order”: reflected in its branding and public campus space, in turn reflecting deeper institutional positions. Anchoring the exhibition space will be a literal disembodying of Yosef, Appalachian State University’s settler "Mountaineer" mascot. Around the gallery, a retired Yosef costume will be retrieved and separated by head, hands, and body, each respectively in its own plexiglass vitrine. Blue Ridge, Lavender Marks questions Yosef as a symbolic mascot body, but also as a campus monument in league with statues of Daniel Boone and Blanford Barnard Daugherty. Countering these forms are a series of public hologram proposals - “counter-monuments” - envisioned for hypothetical future public installation on campus. Despite being necessarily entwined in the productions that center and uphold Yosef, these proposals represent real histories that may be otherwise obstructed or invisibilized by the symbolic order of his body and attendants. Yosef’s body becomes re-constituted as a simultaneous embodiment of, and impediment to, multiple historical realities of Watauga, The Blue Ridge Mountains, and Appalachia.
Unmarked Graves, Mast-Taylor Cemetery, Valle Crucis, North Carolina
ME N' SKIP
TOBACCO SHROUD, 1949/NORTHWESTERN BANK
Notes on Tweetsie Railroad
Krispy Kreme, Winston-Salem, NC - 20th C. gay cruising site/ Cookout, Boone, NC - 21st C. site of argument before gay bashing at another location
UNSETTLING THE MOUNTAINEER
Current examples are a preliminary and imperfect offering. They are to be workshopped with student groups from Appalachian State's Multicultural Student Development. Please note: this is not a blanket embrace of "multiculturalism," per se, rather an institutional title. Many examples are settler histories and agents, but all present notable odds with the shifting settler colonial state itself.
LAKESIDE DANCE PARTY, ROARING GAP COUNTRY CLUB, NC/ GENTRY DANCE/ AN INDUSTRIAL MORPHOLOGY OF THE WHITE PLANTER CLASS
 “Unsettling the Mountaineer” is a term borrowed from Stephen Pearson’s essay “The Last Bastion of Colonialism”: Appalachian Settler-Colonialism and Self-Indigenization. American Indian Culture and Research Journal. 37:2. 2013. The foundation of the exhibition seeks to understand the fact of Appalachian State University’s presence on dispossessed Cherokee land, normalized by institutional myths such as Yosef. According to A History of Watauga County (Arthur, John Preston. A History of Watauga County: with Sketches of Prominent Families. 1915, reprinted 1990. p.6) the Mountaineer is credited with "...having been the principal force which drove the Indians from the Alleghany border." (p. 6) Unsettling also means looking at the interrelation of whiteness, class, and gender surrounding Appalachian symbols like the Mountaineer. Please see: Smith, Barbara Ellen. “De-Gradations of Whiteness: Appalachia and the Complexities of Race.” Journal of Appalachian Studies 10 (Spring/Fall): 38-57. 2004.
 Stam, Doris Perry. Mountain Educators: The Dougherty Family and the First Fifty Years of Appalachian [Appalachian State University]. Boone, N.C.:Watauga Press. 2010. The history of these three ancestors has been painstakingly and lovingly documented and processed by my Aunt Doris. For this, our family and myself are eternally grateful and blessed. While we may have different methods and positions for understanding the truth, we share a profound common ground in our pursuits of it. I mean no harm to their memories or spirit. This exhibition is a critique of power, not people. Please also see: Lanier, Ruby J. Blanford Barnard Dougherty: Mountain Educator. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 1974.
 A response to the oft-cited refrain in settler colonial studies that settler colonialism is a structure, not an event, (often falsely attributed to Patrick Wolfe, who acknowledges the idea comes from Native scholars) J. KēhaulaniKauanui reminds in her essay,: “A Structure, Not an Event”: Settler Colonialism and Enduring Indigeneity” [Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association] 5.1 (2016). https://doi.org/10.25158/L5.1.7] -- “Taking settler colonialism as a structure seriously allows US scholars, for example, to challenge the normalization of dispossession as a ‘done deal’ relegated to the past rather than ongoing.” In engaging with a settler colonial conversation, I hope to avoid Kauanui’s criticism, where “...shallow references to the theory too often treat it as a self-contained type that can travel, or that it is totally discrete, rather than intertwined with other social processes.” Scholars specifically interlacing queer studies and settler colonial studies include, but are not limited to: Qwo-Li Driskill, Mark Rifkin, Scott Lauria Morgensen, Deborah A. Miranda, Jasbir Puar, and C. Heike Schotten.
 Yosef is based on the real Watauga citizen and distant relative, Adolphus Taylor. Taylor’s memory and spirit is not in contest, rather his abstraction into the pan-Appalachian frontier “mountaineer” symbol.
 Hologram proposals for Blue Ridge, Lavender Marks were originally inspired by 2015 hologram protests in Madrid, Spain by the group Holograms forFreedom. Protests responded to the new gag law, Citizen Safety Law, which curtailed a large number of protest and assembly rights. Please also see Jean Baudrillard’s writing on holograms in his seminal Simulacra and Simulation. Translated by Sheila Faria Glaser. Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan UniversityPress. 1994. pp. 105-109. Originally published by Éditions Galilée, 1981. The hologram proposals in the exhibition follow, in part, a futurist logicc orroborated by: Smith, Ada. “Appalachian Futurism.” Journal of Appalachian Studies. Vol. 22, No. 1 (Spring 2016), pp. 73-75. As a basis for forward propulsion, Smith’s writing condenses and parses multiple “colonialisms” that have remained part of theorizing Appalachia within and outside the field of Appalachian Studies. As a coalitional queer futurity, the hologram counter-monuments also speak to José Esteban Muñoz’s notion that “queer” is something caught in a state of becoming, a moving towards, requiring constant reassessment, disruption, and re-location of the past against the present: a perpetual time-traveling against an imposed teleological linear history. We have not yet arrived at queer. It is never settled. Please see: Muñoz, José Esteban. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York, NY: NYU Press. 2009. Perhaps it should go without saying, but Lavender in the title Blue Ridge, Lavender Marks: Toward Unsettling the Mountaineer refers to a history of queer resilience and identification.
 Taking Indigenous dispossession and settler occupation as the foundation for understanding, the symbolic order might be summed by bell hooks’ famed “white supremacist imperial capitalist patriarchy.” The goal of Blue Ridge, Lavender Marks: Unsettling the Mountaineer takes up the call of transcontinental feminist collective Laboria Cubonicks in a “...transformation of seeping, directed subsumption rather than rapid overthrow; it is a transformation of deliberate construction, seeking to submerge the white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy in a sea of procedures that soften its shell and dismantle its defenses, so as to build a new world from the scraps.” Please seeLaboria Cubonicks. Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation. www.laboriacubonicks.net. “Overflow” OX19. 2015
 The ethics of engaging “multiplicity” takes up Cathy J Cohen’s idea of “queer” as a unifying question of when and where stable identities are necessary for social action or change, here engaging co-constituencies of settler colonial structures by region and place (Watauga, Blue Ridge, Appa- lachia, et. al) to converse with institution (Appalachian State University). In short, this is a queer project of attempted and imperfect solidarity on multiple fronts. Please see: Cohen, Cathy J. “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Vol. 3, pp. 437-465. 1997. The question of “difference” is also sure to arise, to which this exhibition also attempts Maria Lugones’ call to meet at the space where difference is produced, rather than the spaces of difference itself. Please see: Lugones, Maria. “Toward a Decolonial Feminism.” Hypatia. Vol. 25, No.4. Fall 2010. pp. 742-759. In dialogue with all of these questions are various combinatory social theories such as, but not limited to: intersectionality, assemblage, performativity, affect theory, decolonization, etc. For the latter, please see: Emmelhainz, Irmgard. “Decolonization as the Horizonof Political Action.” e-flux Journal #77. November 2016. Groups like Decolonize This Place have taken up the call to specifically hold art institutions accountable for their participation in ongoing settler colonial oppressions.
SCULPTURAL PROPOSALS FOR HOLOGRAM COUNTER-MONUMENTS: Appalachian victories within and despite what is for-now the United States empire.
THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE MONUMENT
Additional process-based works to be featured in short-run publication
Topher Lineberry © 2021