The sculptures and digital prints on view here are copies of objects in the collection of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City, where Linklater was invited to create a new project for an exhibition in 2015. He used the opportunity to focus attention on the ways Indigenous “artifacts” have been treated differently than Western artworks in museums. The low-fidelity reproductions he created allegorize the abstracting effects of cultural generalizations and display practices on tribal objects.
Reviewing UMFA’s online collection database, the artist identified Indigenous works that were created in the not-so-distant past, between 1875 and 1978, but lacked known (or credited) authorship. He then created a purposely faulty copy of each. He photographed images of the Navajo textiles from his computer screen and printed his digital snapshots at the scale of the actual objects. Compressed five times in the translation from physical object to printed photograph, the resulting images are pixelated and distorted. Linklater had the sculptural objects scanned and printed at the University of Utah’s then-fledgling 3D printing lab rather than a more sophisticated facility, resulting in visible mistakes and the loss of the objects’ characteristic color and surface detail.