Amazon (Working Title)

Danielle Dean is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores the geopolitical and material processes that colonize the mind and body.

Artist Bio

Using animations, testimonies, and archival materials, the short film, Amazon, will entangle present-day Amazon Mechanical Turk (known as MTurk) employees with historical accounts of employee actions and events at Fordlandia. The continuities and discontinuities—of labor resistance, technological subversions, and ecological devastation—are eerie. People came from all over the Amazon region to get work at Fordlandia, a failed rubber plantation in the rainforest that Ford tried to set up. The workers were controlled and mistreated, there were whistleblowers and riots, and ultimately it failed and is now in ruin. From generating historical content for the story from Ford archives, performers from MTurk will perform the story as if happening now. The piece will be a sort of travel movie or adventure story—MTurk workers come together from all over the world to recount and perform the historical narrative along with their own story. Shot like a drama, the characters work from their homes where they do MTurk work, but it will be implied through the fiction they are in the Amazon forest and worksite camp. The events of Fordlandia are weaved into participants’ stories and reactions within this history and their context, all developed through workshops. Amazon considers the effects of mass production and the potential of solidarity in an otherwise isolated present and future.

Amazon premiered at the group exhibition This Land at The Contemporary Austin, Austin, TX from September 28, 2023–January 28, 2024.

Award Year



Danielle Dean presents Trainers, Part 2 at the 2016 Creative Capital Retreat

Danielle Dean

Danielle Dean

San Diego, CA

Danielle Dean is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores the geopolitical and material processes that colonize the mind and body. Drawing from the aesthetics and history of advertising, and from her multinational background—born to a Nigerian father and an English mother in Alabama, and brought up in a suburb of London—her work explores the ideological function of technology, architecture, marketing, and media as tools of subjection, oppression, and resistance. Dean received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts and is an alumna of the Whitney Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Solo exhibitions include Trigger Torque at the Ludwig Forum in Germany, True Red Ruin at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Bazar at 47 Canal in New York, Landed at Cubitt gallery in Londonand Focus: Danielle Dean at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Her work has also been included in group exhibitions such as Freedom of Movement, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands, Anti at the Athens Biennial in Athens, Greece, and The Centre Cannot Hold, at Lafayette Anticipation, among many others.