On February 10th, the date Boulder was “founded,” I slept in a handmade tent where the first white explorers settled in the area in their search for gold. X Marks the Spot was a performance that drew upon the palpable history of Settler’s Park. Through its red rocks, scattered pines, and howling winds, one can experience a landscape in a similar way to those who resided there over a century ago. Situated on the outskirts of town, these red rock outcroppings hold the messy anthropocentric intersection of nature and culture. Look to the east and one sees the sprawl of Boulder. Look to the west and it is difficult to find much human evidence.
The saying “x marks the spot” reveals a double meaning. Not only does it imply a treasured spot on a map, but the English army would draw an ‘x’ on a paper held over the heart of a criminal about to be executed. The adage quickly connects to early settlers’ discoveries of gold, but more subtly alludes to the violent actions against the land and communities that preceded them.