Infiniti, Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Accession Number

Infiniti, Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Patrick Nagatani

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date
1996; printed 2001

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper

6 in x 8 in (15.24 cm x 20.32 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Thomas Wilson '79 and Jill Garling '80

Subject matter
This photograph depicts a view looking down into an archeological site. At the base of a vertical wall of dirt and rock, an excavation of a buried automobile is in progress. A pile of dirt rests to the right of the car, two wheelbarrows lying nearby. Strewn about the site are shovels, ladders, pickaxes and lengths of rope. Laid across the ledges of the hole and on top of the automobile’s roof are planks of wood. The curious sight causes one to wonder as to how the car came to be buried in this location.

On closer inspection however, it is evident that the scene is actually a view of a miniature model, an elaborate diorama. This photograph is a part of the series, the Ryoichi/Nagatani Excavations, in which the artist created a narrative surrounding a fictitious Japanese archaeologist named Ryoichi. By chance, Ryoichi discovers a mysterious set of documents that lead him to various sites of ancient cultural importance around the world. Excavating these locations in secret, Ryoichi’s team discovers buried evidence of an ancient automobile culture that inexplicably parallels our own. Nagatani presents himself as the photographer for these secret excavations, claiming his photographs are the sole visual records that document the project. The elaborate, outlandish story reveals Nagatani’s interest in photography’s supposed verisimilitude, and explores the intersection of documented facts and contrived fictions.  

Physical Description
This photograph depicts a view looking downwards at an archeological excavation of a car.  There are shovels and other supplies strewn about the site.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
artifacts (object genre)
excavations (sites)
scale models

3 Related Resources

Cars and Car Culture
(Part of 7 Learning Collections)
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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