Destiny Manifest - Eden's End

Destiny Manifest is a body of work inspired by a 7500 mile journey that traced the wagon roads of pioneer America. This journey was precipitated by a long-standing interest in the tragic Donner Party story. With over 3000 photos and 6 hours of film, we traced the trail from North Platte, Nebraska across Wyoming, Utah, The Great Salt Desert, then over Nevada, finally exploring the California and Oregon destinations of the hopeful emigrants.

Along the way we visited the landmarks that guided the 19th century travellers such as: The Platte River, Chimney Rock, Independence Rock, Signature Cliff, Pilots Peak, Skull Valley and Donner Lake. We stood in wagon ruts carved through the rock of the trail as we tried to imagine the unimaginable journey into an unknown vastness. What we discovered was a historical parable of the legacy of American expansionist ideals expressed as the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. This parable being that of the unfortunate Donner Party and how they faced the ultimate consequences of their drive westward to claim the riches of the new world. The words of John O’Sullivan, who coined the phrase Manifest Destiny in 1839 show their truth daily on the pages of any current newspaper.

“…. and that claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federative development of self government entrusted to us. It is a right such as that of the tree to the space of air and the earth suitable for the full expansion of its principle and destiny of growth.”

The first phase of Destiny Manifest is a pair of films featuring hundreds of photos taken on the journey by Cathy Ward, recitation of historical text and text written by Ward. This phase premiered at P.S.1/MoMA, New York in October 2004 and and went on to tour the UK. Phase Two is a full-scale solo exhibition that opened 10 July 2005 at Cafe Gallery Projects, Southwark Park, London.

The major work: Destiny Manifest - Eden's End was exhibited in the Utopia exhibition at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC) in 2006.



Read our text about the project HERE

Read Doug Harveys catalog essay HERE

Read Mark Pilkingtons essay HERE



CGP - Catalogue Cover 


Destiny Manifest - Eden's End 

Gallery View CGP
Destiny Manifest - Eden's End: Gallery View CGP

JMKAC - Utopia Exhibition (2006)
Destiny Manifest - Eden's End: JMKAC - Utopia Exhibition (2006)

JMKAC - Utopia Exhibition (2006)
Destiny Manifest - Eden's End: JMKAC - Utopia Exhibition (2006)

Details
Destiny Manifest - Eden's End: Details

Detail
Destiny Manifest - Eden's End: Detail

Detail
Destiny Manifest - Eden's End: Detail

Nevada  1846
A Revisitation at Donner Camp: Nevada 1846


Salt Bride 


Salt Bride 

Detail
Salt Bride: Detail


 


 

Detail
Welcome to California: Detail


Film Still