Paul Ramírez Jonas
Artist in the Public Realm

Album 50 States Summit, 2002


MATERIALS: C-print, silkscreen and India ink.

    I have been hiking, climbing and sometimes simply driving to the highest point in each state. Upon reaching the top I have taken a self portrait waving a hand made flag that says 'OPEN'. The photographs acknowledge in equal measure the photograph of Neil Armstrong on the Moon, the photograph of Sir Edmund Hillary on top of Mount Everest, and the painting 'The Wonderer' by Kaspar Friedrich. As in most of my works, my action is not a 'first', there is no originality, no 'progress', no possession or discovery. Rather, I follow in other's footsteps. Within each 'expedition' a certain amount of optimism and earnestness inevitably seeps in; and with it comes a vestige of heroism. Still, the act remains one of reading a preexisting text rather than writing a new one.

    The overall project is presented as an oversized album, where each summit has its own page with a blank frame and caption. The blanks exist before the actions.  All future photographs already have a resting place.   The book charts possibilities, shaping my future, and daring some trips into existence