Brooks Turner

This ongoing series engages the history of fascism in Minnesota and its reverberation into the present. Throughout the 20th century, fascism found fertile ground in Minnesota as organizations such as the Silver Legion of America, the German American Bund, the Christian Nationalist Front, and the America First Party spread their ideologies through publications, meetings, and cultural camps. These groups normalized fascist and racist rhetoric in a mostly politically progressive state. But the damage was done; anti-progressive politicians, lawyers, and business leaders capitalized on this hatred and leveraged it to gain control of the state government by the end of the decade. Had it not been for subversive activities by unions and Jewish activists, these fascist organizations may have seen further success.

I see these digital drawings and collages as allegories and representations of the rhyme of history and the aesthetics of ideology. Documents scanned at the Minnesota Historical Society become collage fragments, which I juxtapose with digital drawings before printing on newspaper. The collaged element is both a practical means of incorporating historical documents—remnants slowly yellowing in a library basement—into a form that can remain present and accessible, as well as a poetic meditation on how the voice of history spoken by people decades apart can sound the same. The drawings bring a visual presence to actions and events hidden in the fragments of the past. By printing on newspaper, I further seek to reinforce a relationship to history, how information was disseminated, as well as aesthetically echo the format in which many of the collage fragments were found.

The localities of our history resonate through time and space, but often feel abstract as a list of events recorded in a textbook. I seek through this body of work to build a world, to make these records and narratives tangible through the imagination, provoking the viewer to see history and reality differently.