High Visibility (Blaze Orange) combines original images, performance, archival photographs and maps to show the impact of late capitalism and settler colonisation on the landscapes of the Western United States. Focusing on Utah’s West Desert, Jaclyn Wright’s work aims to illustrate the struggle between the natural world and its codification by bureaucrats, the visible and invisible and the ironies of fantasies of freedom and nativism on stolen land.
Located on the western side of the Great Salt Lake, much of the West Desert, the ancestral home of the Goshute people, is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The area is classified by the USF Federal Government as ‘public lands’ yet significant acreage is privately leased for mining and cattle ranching and nearly one-third of the area is used as biological and chemical weapons testing grounds. The lake is rapidly drying up due to overuse and human-caused ecological change—threatening millions of migratory birds and the population of Salt Lake City. The remaining areas are open to various uses, including improvised gun ranges.
‘I see this land use as rooted in settler colonial, patriarchal and capitalist systems that perpetuate ideologies undermining egalitarianism and environmentalism’s goals.’ – Jaclyn Wright
The motif of the colour blaze orange is dispersed throughout the book as a nod to the most conspicuous type of debris found in the West Desert ranges—blaze orange clay pigeons.
These aerial targets are painted in the highly saturated and synthetic orange, ‘blaze orange,’ to ensure they stand out against the sky on a clear day and against a natural landscape.
A colour created to oppose nature, not to be confused with it.
‘At an historical moment when conversations about ownership and use of guns in America can’t be anything but urgent, polarised and, as a result, intellectually and historically shallow an analysis dependent on historical, ecological, institutional, and personal complexity is valuable. The sheer weirdness of this trash does a considerable amount of work. There is nothing in Blaze Orange that shrugs and accepts a lack of explanation but the abstract beauty of pierced tin against a horizon shared with nearby Dugway Proving Ground (a secretive military test site and metonym for the militarised background conditions of American life in general), gives us far greater insight into the many relations that make up the gun fetish than any linear narrative or political line ever could.’ From the essay by R H Lossin
Published September 2023
Essay by R H Lossin
165 x 240 mm
192pp, Duotone and 4 colour