Over the course of 2020, the map of the continental United States appeared over and over again in the news. First, color coded to display the results of the Democratic presidential primary, then shaded to trace the infection rates of COVID-19, and finally, filled in with opposing red and blue as votes were anxiously tallied in the 2020 presidential election.
As the year came to a close, I began thinking of ways to use these infographics to transform the physical borders of each state. After realizing that twenty-five states had gone red and twenty-five states had gone blue in the presidential election, I began combining one of each to create hybrid entities, resulting in a series of cyanotype prints titled Good Friends. Some look like new states, as with Nebraska and Pennsylvania, while others are recognizable but feel slightly off, as with Louisiana and Massachusetts. Through this synthesis they dismantle each other, creating blueprints for unfamiliar entities. The title of each print is a combination of their state abbreviations, creating four-letter, officious sounding acronyms that serve as clues. For instance, California and Indiana make CAIN, Hawaii and North Dakota HIND, Oklahoma and Rhode Island OKRI, and so on and so forth.
The outlines of Washington, D.C. and the five territories controlled by the US are also included: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Since they are not states, I present them with their boundaries intact. Ironically, they are rendered visible here due to their lack of political autonomy, a reminder that the colonial practices of the United States continue.