A Metaphysics of Scrap: Michael Nicoll Yaghulanaas’s Automobile Art

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Abstract

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas’s recent art installations, which re-purpose car hoods, doors, fenders, sunroof deflectors, and gas cap lids, re-cast normative notions of value by transforming the remnants of automobile manufacturing into singular works of art. Blurring categories of animate and inanimate, natural and manufactured, traditional and post-industrial, Yahgulanaas’s automobile art is informed by a Haida-specific ecology in which elements like copper are seen as possessing a vital energy. His works further reference Haida economics in which copper shields accrued social, material, and metaphysical value through their circulation and destruction. More than an act of ecological remediation, Yahgulanaas’s salvage art unbinds his materials from capitalist determinations of value and utility. This essay traces the different cultural notions of value operating in Yahgulanaas’s installations and the broader ontological implications of his works.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWi: journal of mobile media
Volume10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

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