Zachary S Allen ‘15 MFA
Confluence, is an artistic investigation that examines the historical legacy and present condition of the Merrimack River Valley, considered the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. The great textile mills that were once powered by this river have eventually declined and their influence has reshaped both the natural and economic landscape of the region. Through photographic documentation I attempt to construct a candid sense of this place through looking at the changing landscapes, architecture, and infrastructure along the river. Gaining inspiration from the structural forms and material remnants, I perform site interventions that allow me to have a more active engagement with the landscape. I document these site interventions and constructions with my camera and repurpose some of those materials for sculptural installations. In addition to the photographs I make in the field, I’ve appropriated historical images which I manipulate, montaging them into singular images to form new historical narratives. Embedded in all of this work are questions about our shifting relationship to the mythologies of the past, man’s alteration of nature for economical gains, and the efficiency of art to address these issues. Through creating my own artistic account I aim to actively shape the way we perceive a certain place, yet leave it open for interpretation to provide opportunity for contemplation of our relationship to historical legacy and how we might go about changing it to fit our contemporary needs.