"The Devil is in the Detail"

(A continuation of "Confusion of Terms")

What is the role of memory, desire and Nostalgia in the definition of America? What is great and what again are we repeating? My native state of Pennsylvania was once a great producer of wheat and flour. The house where I grew up was first a mill. The water wheels are a part of my childhood memory. The giant wooden gears were a part of the area's history and they left a visual mark on me - nostalgia. Pennsylvania was Quaker. The Quakers were a peaceful god fearing peoples. The Quakers were abolitionists, but the Quakers were of this world. Large amounts of this flour was sent to the Caribbean to feed the workers on the plantations, slave labor. Enslaved people need to eat and Quakers need to eat. In a world ruled by commerce and profit, partaking is also personal survival. With the strong bonds of labor, property and capital, is it possible to create political spectrums that ignore global class conflict as these Quakers did and as Americans do. Is out of sight, out of mind? How can we battle ingrained concepts without destroying everything and starting over? What is spine-less?

What is the role of fine arts versus the functional? Is this to be seen, understood, used? I wish to invite the audience to imagine their own training and self-destruction. Audience interaction is a crucial question as I contemplate safety, liability, and collaboration. Where does potential lie in what is offered to the audience. To understand the piece, does one need to crank the machine until the Hammer reaches its apex and crashes down, sending the user's skull into their spine?

The Devil is in the Detail: Liberty, Freedom, Equality: the human condition traps survivors in a liminal space between the useless and the practical. Human interaction and the advantage of developed opposable thumbs sets us aside with our tools. Object, art-piece, equipment, and tool differentiate the man-made 3-D world, linguistically, and their relation to social function. As human interaction becomes more and more indebted to monetary exchange and purchase potential, the borders between labor, entertainment, and leisure time converge and blend. Audience interaction plays with us social animals as individual, property, owner and contractor. What are the contracts which set rules of one human before another?

The absurdity of the act, the making this machine, world problems as an issue of efficiency. The Quakers were not an inefficient peoples. That was not the contradiction. That Tesla is flying people to the moon might be connected to Ahmaud Arbery being shot dead and George Floyd being strangled but it is no causal relation. It is a matter of ill-placed priorities and fears and power and its physical realization; violence as an act of legitimization.

Return to Works