Tuesday, March 21, 2006 

The Paranoiac-Critical Coyote

Map reading as a form of interpretive delirium brings us closer to the surreality in geography. Where the Willamette and Columbia rivers meet there becomes visible the tip of a canine nose that eventually gives way to the silhouette of a coyote framed by the two rivers. This image shadows the region, stretching its chest as far south as Oregon City and flattening its ears eastward in the form of the poorly named Government Island. Known for his various adventures along these two rivers it isn’t too far-fetched to see this visual play as a likeness of the mythic Coyote, a mischievous and resourceful personage in the indigenous social fabric. And yet, given that a Colville Indian tale attributes the creation of the Columbia, in an attempt to bring salmon into the region, to Coyote himself, perhaps this image can be seen as an unconscious slip, a kind of fortuitous self-portrait by the territory’s most prolific pleasure seeker.

MK Shibek and Brandon Freels

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