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  • Out There and the Right to Look

    The “right to look”… is not a right in the sense of human rights… it is the claim to a subjectivity that has the autonomy to arrange and rearrange the relations of the visible and the sayable. [1]

    The beauty of public lands, the greatness of the commons in the old and fine sense, is the access with implied respect. Anyone who has sought out and discovered rock art often crisscrosses modified terrains, channeled and dammed waterways, fences and gates, wild and domestic animals, and replaced or erased plant communities. In the BLM and National Forest lands of Oregon and Northern California, I am continually reminded every chunk of land is managed and has been or is being modified in some way.

    I can look and do so.  And in so doing and in looking, see strange things. This is encompassed within the experience of being out there.  It provokes arrangement of the visible and the sayable.  Then, arriving near a bramble-sheltered rim with a petroglyph facing east, or studying a deeply carved boulder on a slope near a waterway, looking deepens. 

    Petroglyphs from four locales in SE Klamath and SW Lake counties are pictured – and included with a few along-the-way looked-at crossings.  [1]  Nicholas Mirzoeff. 2014. “Visualizing the Anthropocene.” Public Culture 26, no. 2: 213-232.