Ellen Mueller

Manifest Destiny Series

This series of satirical performances is inspired by the western landscape, historical westward expansion, and human infringement on America’s natural resources.

This investigation considers honesty, or a lack thereof, in a chaotic world of impending climate change and hyperactive news media. By examining the darker side of the human condition, and searching for truth stemming from human resistance to change, I invite the viewer to contemplate what it means to be human, and to live with others.

In “Manifest Destiny I,” I have juxtaposed 3 channels of video of myself in a cheerleading uniform, pushing a ladder up a hill. This absurd action mirrors the absurdity of extracting increasingly inefficient fossil fuels from the earth via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and refining tar sands. The work also reflects on a conquering spirit and its purpose.

In “Manifest Destiny II” I have taken overtly patriotic quotes from the US passport and choreographed cheers to them in a 2-channel format. The performance critiques a variety different political groups presenting overly-simplistic and polarizing understandings of issues related to American expansion. An example quote is, “This is a new nation, based on a mighty continent, of boundless possibilities.” – Theodore Roosevelt

In “Manifest Destiny III” I have increased the scale of these ideas by utilizing 6 cheerleaders in a variety of formations, cheering these cheers.


This project is supported by Fractured Atlas Fiscal Sponsorship, a Moonifest Micro-Grant,

and *THIS LIST* of individual donors.



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