Bolinas by Rachel Barrett
Bolinas is a small, unincorporated community in Northern California resting precariously on the coast of the Pacific straddling two geographic plates, the past and the present, and two worlds. Dirt roads with hand-painted signs mark the pathways between a notoriously reclusive population with a rich cultural and agricultural history dating back to the 1920s, with a flowering in the late 1960s after the Summer of Love. A collective effort to clean up after a 1971 oil spill brought the people of Bolinas together, and the desire to live an intrinsically shared existence with one another and closely to the land on their own terms is how they decided to stay.
There are no longer any true communes in town but that same sharing mentality of perpetual exchange and engagement persists, as does a near seamless relationship between humans and nature. Intrigued by resurgence of back to the land ideologies among my generation and drawn to the social and political significance of this movement I wanted to investigate further. My point of entry to the place was through a friend who started sharing a home with seven others in late 2008. Created during many extended stays over nearly two years, the work became an examination of identity and the ways in which individuals shape their own understanding of self within the context of coherence among others and among the land. Struck by the intricacy and complexity of interconnectedness, the invisible web binding moments together, the photographs delve into the myths manifested, the cross section of reality and fantasy that converges here and explores that - the deeply spiritual even near religious connection everyone in Bolinas has with the landscape of their mystical town - which physically and psychologically compels them to behave in these ways.
Rachel Barrett is a Brooklyn, New York based artist.
To view more of Rachel's work, please visit her website.