The Tower, The Range is the cumulative work of artist duo Chase Barnes and Shawn Bush, who for the past decade have utilized photography to define the contours of the various structures and hegemonies that direct and control our lives. These external systems of governance and internalized patterns of self-regulation are often invisible and ubiquitous in their operations, making them difficult to identify. Employing a style of image-making that is at once observational and distrusting, The Tower, The Range conflates and interweaves two disjunct but universal signifiers of power.
I. The Tower acts both as a utility and a monument.
It takes the form of a labyrinthine architecture of bureaucracies and social mechanisms, stretching ever upward towards an unreachable vision of a prepackaged Utopia. These images navigate the atriums and corridors of this absurd complex, as it renders the lives and individual passions of its occupants increasingly abstract and senseless. The Range acts as an imaginary landscape of infinite resource and possibility, and The Tower is the vantage point from which man’s dominion over this landscape is expressed and enforced.
II. The Range is a vast landscape into which we project pure, unchecked desire and ambition; It is the impossible distance between ourselves and some infinite horizon line upon which we’ve staked claim. This irrational terrain and its conflicted history feed a deep cultural entitlement, couched in romantic visions of progress and modernization. Reeling in the wake of westward expansion and Manifest Destiny, these images bear witness to an imperialist endgame.