Exchange: The installation depicted here was originally named Weapon Exchange. I asked each viewer to exchange a representation of a weapon of his or her own for a porcelain gun representing my own weapons, understanding a weapon as anything a person uses defensively or aggressively. A weapon might be something as obvious as a hammer, or as innocuous seeming as a single word. The first weapon I received in exchange for a gun was the word, silence. Unfortunately, people from the organization that hosted the exhibition did not like the title. They worried that literal minded viewers would bring guns and knives to exchange. I said that knives and guns are valuable, so no one would give them away. They insisted that I underestimated the weirdness of human beings. Although I was happy that my installation was considered challenging and possibly dangerous, I was sympathetic with the show organizers and changed the name of the installation to Exchange. In fact, the most physically dangerous objects I received were a hammer and an ice pick.
The text explaining what I ask the viewer to do in Exchange is printed on a banner that hangs behind the crossroads section of the work. It says: Give something you use defensively or aggressively, or a representative of that thing. Leave it on the crossroads shaped table or in the box provided. Take one of the porcelain or cloth representatives of my personal weapons.
The centerpiece of the installation is a crossroads made of wood that extends six feet in each direction and is about two and a half feet above the floor. It is paved with brown fabric in each of the four directions. The fabric flows off the ends of the roads and falls to the floor. For me, the descending fabric represents the invisible future falling away, invisibly, from the present. On three of the four roads, the porcelain guns I created lie waiting to be exchanged. A text printed on the fourth road reads, on this road you can lay down your arms. The crossroads includes a fifth direction, up. From the center of the crossroads a bamboo frame rises to about seven feet. Porcelain guns hang from it at eye level.
I slip caste the guns in three different molds and finished each differently. I have begun to work on another installation using the objects, drawings, words, and combinations of those that viewers gave me in exchange.
Categories & Keywords
Keywords:art, contemporary, fine art, gun, sculpture, weapon