NICHOLAS B. JACOBSEN
Commemorative Plates - (set 4 of 4) - Found plates, digital collage, ceramic decal. Dimensions Variable. (2020)
(detail) Pure White: Made in the USA
(detail) Joseph, Jesus, the "Lamanites," and the U.S.A.
I am an artist and researcher seeking to unsettle my foundational assumptions about the natural world and my place within it. I connect these assumptions to ideologies about the supposed naturalness of human exceptionalism, masculinity, white supremacy, and capitalism–the foundations of U.S. culture. This work emerges as an entanglement of installation, performance, video, sculpture, text, and digital collage. My research is slow, embodied, and place-based, emphasizing the time and attention it takes to develop a lasting, visceral understanding of something. Through my work I want others to come away with an open, ongoing, multisensorial curiosity about themself and the multiplicitous world that are submerged within.
I am a seventh-generation Utah-Mormon, a Euro-American raised in the traditional homelands of the Nuwu (Southern Paiutes), near the Pine Valley Mountains and Virgin River in Southwestern Utah. Currently, I am reckoning with my personal and ancestral histories as a descendant of Mormon settler-colonists. The Book of Mormon is said to be a history of ancient Christians in the Americas and claims that contemporary Indigenous peoples are among the descendants of a people cursed by God with "a skin of blackness". Further, this book promises that if Indigenous peoples accept the Book of Mormon as their own history and religion, they will become a pure and White people. This settler-colonial violence has become central to my work at the intersections of Mormonism, Whiteness, and American-ness.