The Anhoek School
54 Dupont Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Stealing Horses:
The Invention of Possession

The Anhoek School
Experimental Graduate-Level Education for Women
Marfa Campus

Instructor: Mary Walling Blackburn
Date: June 1-13, 2009

If you wish my young men to stop raiding Texas, perhaps you should move Texas to where they cannot find it.
--Ten Bears, 1872

Mineral, Plant, Animal. The Object/ The Owner/ The Possessed. What is it and is it yours? Ten Bears pithy remark not only indicates the communal fictions that support notions of ownership but also the distinction between possession and belonging.

In Texas, this summer, we will investigate the border, the possession, the object, and its owner.

We will consider how various political structures invent our relation to the object, spanning from Rodchenko's claim that objects are our comrades to Capitalism's belief that we can and should exercise ownership over things. Furthermore, we shall examine notions of the object that defy these supra structures: from William Eggleston's production of object as alien (which can be linked to the rough times in the American 70's when capital began to feel indeed alien) to a host of thinkers that suggest that the human's relation to object can be the object or owner as ghost, cannibal, animate being, sibling, enemy to the other.

Our investigation is site specific. We will examine the remains of bomb shelters (the post-object), the Marfa Lights (the unstable object), US Border Patrol Headquarters (territory as object), works at the Chinati Foundation (object for object's sake), the remains of Fort DA Russell (prisoner as object), ghost town of Schafter (the evacuated object), the Blackwell Museum (the crypt and its objects) and the shores of the Rio Grande on the Mexican/US border.

Readings are not restricted to but will include:

Jean-Luc Nancy on the neighbor, the wound, and the stranger.
Frederick Winslow Taylor on chilled iron, the worker's body, motion study, and time.
Josef Vogel on hesitation.
Elfreide Jelenik on the exhausted object.
Chris Kraus on aliens.
Theodor Adorno on the female object and the feminine.
Linda Hill on georeferencing.
Trevor Paglen on military zones.
Local histories that include Marfa's Chemical Warfare Brigades, the inhabitants of Comancheria, the formation of the Border Patrol, Mexican revolutionary activity, and the remains of spiritual encampments.