April 27, 2005
The Cryptozoologist > Breaking Story
Waiting for Bigfoot
San Francisco-based American artist Jill Miller is participating in Norwich
Gallery's EAST 05 international exhibition, July 2 - August 20, 2005. Although
she will exhibit a performance work, she will not appear in the gallery. At
least not in the flesh.
Miller's durational performance-installation, Waiting for Bigfoot, will
be located in Northern California (also known as "Bigfoot Country") and will be
delivered to the Norwich Gallery as real-time video via satellite uplink, 24
hours a day. The artist will live at the campsite, situated in the epicenter of
Bigfoot sightings, for the entire duration of EAST 05.
Miller is interested in the philosophical, social and metaphorical implications
that Bigfoot represents. Western culture has long been obsessed with monsters
and the unknown; currently, these obsessions manifest themselves in horror films
such as Nosferatu, Rosemary's Baby, Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead
and myriad maligned "B-grade" horror films. However, cinematic monsters are not
the only creatures that dominate the psychological landscape of Western culture.
Now, perhaps more than ever, citizens regularly report sightings of Sasquatch,
Bigfoot, Chupacabra, The Loch Ness Monster, aliens and metaphysical beings.
While horror films manipulate our feelings of isolation or fear of the uncanny
and the supernatural, the cultish following of mythical monsters such as
Bigfoot/Sasquath, Yeti, or Loch Ness Monster (Nessie) point less to a culture of
fear and more to a culture of faith. Jill Miller's sense of what is occurring
within cryptozoology (the study of unknown animals) is that most of the field's
followers consider it a tenet that creatures exist, which we have yet to
'discover.' She feels that within parts of the culture of cryptozoology, various
stances raise questions of belief and faith, prompting those outside
cryptozoology often to take a stand.
Miller postulates that Bigfoot is a metaphor for the natural human desire for
mystery and the unknown. In an age that is hallmarked by scientific
investigation, Western societies are occupied with the desire to know
everything, such as determining how to stop the aging process, or defining which
compounds comprise the surface of Mars. Scientific instruments are finely tuned
to both our macro and microcosms. Carl Jung explains in Psychology and the
Occult that despite the age of materialism and rationalistic enlightenment
in Western societies, intense scientific and public interest in ESP, spirits,
and invisible forces flourish. Scientific inquiry, in a pure academic approach,
does not refute the unknown, but opens doors to pursuing it. Artist Jill Miller
is interested in peeling back the layers of fear, irony, and pop culture that
surround Bigfoot and creating a space that will generate larger questions of
belief and inquiry.
Waiting for Bigfoot is a synthesis of Miller's own investigations into
her working class American background combined with her highbred arts education.
She has been influenced by the philosophical concerns of the land artists, the
psychological implications of surveillance technology, and the questions raised
by Allan Kaprow's inquiry into art and life. Her campsite will be equipped with
the same cameras used by internet-based game hunting websites. Loren Coleman,
renowned cryptozoologist and author, is advising Miller on the Jane Goodall
approach to searching for Sasquatch.
Jill Miller received a BA in English literature (High Honors) from the
University of California, Berkeley and an MFA in Fine Art at the University of
California, Los Angeles, where she studied with John Baldessari, Mary Kelly, and
Paul McCarthy. She is currently a Visiting Artist at the San Francisco Art
Institute in California. Waiting for Bigfoot is generously supported by
the Norwich Gallery,
the Arts Council England,
and cryptozoologist Loren Coleman.
Contact for more information about the exhibit and its design can be made with
Jill Miller (email)
Norwich Gallery (email)
Loren Coleman (email)