An American Index of the Hidden and the Unfamiliar

Taryn Simon

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Regarder l’index de Taryn Simon, l’équivalence entre le texte, l’image et la légende dont la rigueur témoigne une volonté objective – sinon scientifique – permet de voir et de comprendre l’Amérique un peu plus intimement. Photographier minutieusement, situer précisément, décrire sans commentaire, les planches qui résultent de ce travail d’investigation outrepassent le caractère uniquement artistique. C’est aussi là son intérêt, car même si l’on peut ressentir un certain maniérisme ou tout du moins un esthétisme – dans la répétition de la manière de photographier, l’obsession à produire des textes similaires sur des sujets aussi variés – il sensibilise à des dimensions politiques, économiques, administratives, religieuses, de sécurité… L’exhaustivité et l’objectivité de leur présence permet d’intégrer la variété et l’immense horizon des faits qui traverse la société américaine. En démultipliant les regards, en croisant les disciplines et les connaissances, et en les rangeant d’une manière totalement similaire, elle laisse l’imagination suffisante au lecteur pour se projeter dans tous ces univers. Il arrive même de penser que toutes ces photos aient pu être prises au même moment. Parviennent les murmures les oiseaux en quarantaine, le souffle des ventilateurs sur les piles de billets fraichement imprimés, l’odeur des saucisses du barbecue partagé en famille par un astronaute sur le départ. La neutralité apparente oblige à se concentrer plus intensément sur les détails qui sont discrètement livrés  dans les photographies ou les données ; offrant à décrire les choix, les démarches qu’elle a du effectuer pour obtenir les droits d’accès, les discussions, les refus, la patience.  A l’image des scientifiques qui accompagnait les expéditions vers les terres nouvelles et restituait par le langage universel du dessin leur découverte, Taryn Simon, en explorant une face cachée de la société apporte un témoignage et une certaine cartographie du monde américain d’aujourd’hui.

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Jury Simulator Deliberation Room with Two-Way Mirror
DOAR Litigation Consulting
Lynbrook, New York
Mock juries are an important part of litigation consulting, a little-known professional field with annual profits of approximately $3 billion.DOAR’s jury simulations offer attorneys the oportunity to practice case presentations as well as assess performances. The estimated cost of a single jury simultation is $60,000. They are most often employed on high-profile, high-stake cases, where cost is of little concern. Recently DOAR provided litigation consulting services to parties involved in the World Trade Center insurance litigation and the WorldCom Underwriters litigation. Participation of litigation consultants in trial preparations has many critics concerned that legal outcomes will increasingly depend on one’s ability to pay.
Jurors for DOAR simultations are jury eligible individuals from jurisdiction where the actual case will be tried. They are recruited to accurately reflect the sociologdemographis backgrounds of that juridiction’s population. They are paid between $150 and $500 per dayx to participate in the simulation. All parties sign a confidentiality agreement.

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Cryopreservation Unit
Cryonics Institue
Clinton Township, Michigan
The Cryonics Institute is a non-profit, member-run corporation which offers cryostasis (freezing) services to individuals and pets upon death. Cryostasis is practiced with the hope that lives will ultimately be extended through future developments in science, technology, and medicine. When, and if, these developments occur, members hope to ba awakened to an extend life in good health and free from disease or the aging process. Cryostasis must begin immediately upon legal death. Aperson or pet is infused with ice-preventive substances and quickly cooled to a temperature where physical decay virtually stops. They can be kept in this state indefinitely. For an additional cost, Cryonics Institute personnel wait out the last hours of an individual’s terminal illness and immediately begin cooling and cardiopulmonary support upon death in order to limit brain damage.
At present, the Cryonics Institue cryopreserves 74 legally dead human patients and 44 legally dead pets. It charges $28,000 for the process if it planned well in advance of legal death and $35,000 on shorter notice. The cost has not increased since 1976 when the Cryonics Instotute was etablished. The Institute is licensed as a cemetary in the state of Michigan.

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Lucasfilm Archives, Props and Set Pieces
Skywalker Ranch
Marin Country, California
 Protocol Droid RA-7
Luke skywalker X-wing fighter pilot jumpsuit
Boba Fett
Indiana’s Jones’ bat and whip
Mannequins in Queen Amidala costumes
Ishi Tib head
Teebo head
Wampa Head
Ark of the Covenant
Death Star II Model
Chewbacca head
Top of the crate that held the Ark of the Covenant
Salacious Crumb
Power Drum played by Umpass-Stay & Ak-Rev in Jabba’s palace

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Akal Security 
Company Headquarters, Sikh Dharma Community
Espanola, New Mexico
Akal, one of the largest security companies in the US provides security for private and government sites. The company is managed by members of the Sikh Dharma religious community, which identifies self-defense and the protection of defenseless as duties of the highest honor.The federal government is Akal’s chief client, which contracts totaling over $1 billion. The company is the primary provider of guards to US federal courthouses and has contracts with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcment, Federal Protective Services and the US Army.
The US based Sikh Dharma community was founded in 1971 by the late Indian-born Sikh spiritual leader and Kundilini Yoga Master, Yogi Bhajan. The community consists primarily of American-born converts. Yogi Bhajan advised disciples to build profitable companies that reflect Sikh spiritual goals. In addition to Akal, members of the Sikh Dharma community also manage diverse entreprises involving helath foods ( Yogi Tea, Golden Temple Cereals and Peace Cereals ), technology consulting ( Khalsa Consulting ) and yoga centers ( Yoga West )

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Bureau of Engraving and Printing
US Department of the Treasury
Washington, District of Columbia
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) designs and manufactures American paper currency and security documents for other federal government agencies. The BEP also reimburses individuals and businesses for paper money that has been irreparably damaged; a service used most often by victims of flood, fire, or other natural disasters. Producing 35 million notes per day with a total value of approximately $635 million, 45 percent of the notes printed are $1 notes. Notes are printed on a cotton and linen rag paper. Each year, 95 percent of the notes printed are used to replace those already in circulation.
The US government began printing paper money in 1861 to help protect against coin counterfeiting. Nicknamed greenbacks, these early bills were issued to finance the Civil War. Recent advancements in copying and printing technologies have raised the incidence of counterfeiting. Since 1996, the BEP has been adding security features to its paper money, constituting the first major production change since 1928. BEP enhances designs every seven to ten year. The illicit manufacture of US currency, including the altering of genuine currency, is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and by emprisonment up to 15 years. Currently, the US dollar is the most frequently used currency in the world. The $100 note has been the largest denomination in circulation since 1969.

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Avian Quarantine Facility
The New York Animal Import Center
NewBurgh, New York
All imported birds that are not of US or canadian origin must undergo a 30 day quarantine in a US Department of Agriculture animal import quarantine facility. The quarantine is mandatory and at the owner’s expense. Birds are immediately placed in incubators called isolettes that control the spread of disease and prevent cross-contamination by strategically placed Hig Efficiency Particulate Air Filters. Before each quarantined bird is cleared for released, it is tested for Avian Influenza and Exotic Newcastle Disease.
The New York Animal Import Center opened in 1980 at Stewart International Airport in NewBurgh, New York. The center is adjacent to one of the runaways, providing for secure transfer of animals to the guarded facility. Each year they process upwards of 4,000 horses, 400 swine, 40 llamas, 50 zoo ruminants and 1,100 different species of birds. In order to maintain bio-security integrity, all employees must wear government issued clothing. Persons entering and leaving quarantine areas must wash their boots in a chemical footbath. Before entering or leaving the facility or traveling between some og the barns, employees must take showers. The World Health Organization maintains that an Avian Flu pandemic is inevitable.

Taryn Simon-American Index of the hidden and unfamiliar

Transatlantic Sub-Marine Cables Reaching Land
VSNL International
Avon, New Jersey

These VSNL sub-marine telecommunications cables extend 8,037.4 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Capable of transmitting over 60 million simultaneous voice conversations, these underwater fiber-optic cables stretch from Saunton Sands in the United Kingdom to the coast of New Jersey. The cables run below ground and emerge directly into the VSNL International headquarters, where signals are amplified and split into distinctive wavelengths enabling transatlantic phone calls and internet transmissions.

Taryn Simon - Atlas

Nixon Gift Vault
US National Archives and Records Administration
 College Park, Maryland

President Richard M. Nixon is the only US President whose presidential materials and records are governed by the 1974 Presidential Recordings and Material Preservation Act (PRMPA). This Act of Congress stipulated, among other things, that presidential materials related to abuse of governmental power be processed and retained by the National Archives in the Washington DC area.

After Nixon’s resignations in 1974 as a result of the Watergate scandal and an impending threat of impeachment, clonflict ensued over custody of his presidential materials and recordings. These include millions of documents, thousands of hours of audio recordings and film reels, hundreds of thousand of photographs, and thousands of gifts from dignitaries and the public. Until his death in 1994, Nixon made sustained efforts to block the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) from processing and releasing president materials. To this day, there are Nixon White House Tapes that have neither been processed nor made available to the public.

Source :
Taryn Simon, An American Index of the Hidden and the Unfamiliar, Hatje Kantz, 2013
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