installed at Lafayette College's "gardeHouse".
306 armed garden gnomes are housed on the west side of Lafayette College in an abandoned guardhouse: a structure intended to shield
the students from the envisioned menace of the local population. They are installed in 13 rows on lawn effect carpet, accompanied by a low hum,
reminiscent of bass speakers enclosed in a trunk. A single motion activated light hangs in the middle of the space above their heads.
The dream to "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps", succeed, and own your house combines with the fear that comes from the constant
potential of losing that for which one sacrifices. Security combines with defensiveness and a need for a scapegoat to pin the precariousness of life
itself upon. It is about reminiscing to past times that were carefree: the wish to remain a child. It is about the fear that lives below the surface. Notions
of labor, property, and self-defense are woven with the strands of a colonial past and America's legacy of slavery. This installation is inspired by the
fear of the "Haves" losing to the "Have-nots". It is about the fear of blackness. It recognizes history and yearns for a responsibility for the present.
The garden gnome is a standard prop in German gardens. It adds fantasy to the property and represents, perhaps, the playfulness of the owner's
decoration style. It is a way for a grown person to harness a bit of childlike foolishness. Gnomes are most associated with middle-class
neighborhoods and garden clubs. A garden with gnomes can and often flies a German flag, implying national and cultural belonging.
To many young people it is a sign of being conservative and stuck in ones ways and expectations, but it is
also a sign of the personal freedom granted by ownership and the aura of security won by sacrifice. The lawn and the
care of that lawn define every man's kingdom. The imaginable threats that impose themselves upon that kingdom are countless.
"WIEDERGROSS" is a mash up of being a foreigner in Germany and returning to the USA to find myself a stranger in my own land.