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Epiphany Knedler

Epiphany Knedler, documents some of the Great Plains' strange tourist infrastructure: Wall Drug, the Crazy Horse Memorial, the Corn Palace, Mount Rushmore, and the guy who can’t miss his chance for a selfie with a mechanical pony and a stuffed bison in the background. Born in Vermillion, South Dakota, Knedler is intimately familiar with the unique destination that was her home and her "road trip" to re-connect is the source of this portfolio. Her photo series for Dek Unu is an artist's look at both the attractions and the attracted.  It lightly but seriously considers some of the ironies of the region where the biggest attraction is the image of a man who fought to protect today’s Great Plains from the predations of outsiders.  Now, the area welcomes over 14 million outsiders per year, who spent more than four billion dollars in the state last year.  Wish You Were Here is Epiphany Knedler's invitation to see how the area plays on and with its resources and history as it  entertains. profits from, and, sometimes, educates its visitors.

"I think there is a dichotomy between personal versus traditional ways of interacting with these places, a difference in our perceptions of and reactions to place and history. These roadside attractions, no matter how real or true to history they attempt to be, have an impression of inauthenticity to them. It is difficult to replicate or reproduce events throughout history, and I don’t think it comes down to the aesthetics of these places but rather to the consumerism surrounding these attractions. Tourists interact with these places in their own ways, but the majority of tourist attractions are curated to photo-ops and souvenirs.  Many of these places are designed to create a specific experience that then ignores certain histories and promotes others."

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