Welcome to Rhode Island (2017)
Rhode Island Convention Center
Installed in a group show at Rhode Island's Dunkin Donuts Convention Center, Welcome to Rhode Island presents a critical introduction to the state's history and politics, juxtaposed with the institution's narrative found in the Tourism Center downstairs. The printed brochures offer counter-hegemonic narratives and histories of Rhode Island, accompanied by postcards for progressive organizations in the state. Titles include, "Gentrification in Providence," "Slave Trade was RI's #1 Financial Activity," and "Race in RI: Invisible Natives." Framed portraits of the board members include real board members, the artist, and her sister in corporate disguise.
While the tone is absurdist—visitors snack on Munchkins™ while they browse—the piece intervenes within a mainstream venue to highlight alternative histories and grassroots organizing efforts, providing visitors with resources to critically examine their relationship to history, activism, authorship, and participation. All informational materials are original in design, sourced from various online sites.
Performance: On opening night, the sister "board members" milled about the space enacting business phone calls based on meeting minutes from the Convention Center's website. Overheard by visitors milling about the space, the phone conversations covered various topics such as Landscape Expos, Buddy Cianci, parking logistics, Carrie Underwood, and the local economy. An enactment of conservative politics, the performance underscored the corporatization of state history and culture.