2020 Vision (2020)
Sculpture: 21” x 13.25” x 20”. Wood, acrylic, gearbox motors, Arduino, breadboards, jumper wires, switch, power cables, metal hardware (brackets, screws), magnets, paint, iPad
Digital video: 8:08 minutes
During a routine eye exam, an optometrist asks, “Lens 1 or 2,” to ascertain visual acuity while flipping through lenses, and viewfinders at scenic stops enable visitors to zoom into or scrutinize vast vistas. This kinetic sculpture references these practices or technologies of ascertaining, manipulating and interrogating vision by presenting alternate interpretations of the same images, via four phrases: "WE ARE THE VIRUS," "THEY ARE THE VIRUS," "WE RESIST THE VIRUS," "THEY RESIST THE VIRUS."
The images appear alone, as split screen composites, and as layered images (where each layered image comprises all preceding single images).
COVID-19 exists in a world already structured by metaphorical “viruses:” the unhoused, imprisoned, migrants or refugees, and other “others” are deemed societal “diseases;” because we have already socially distanced ourselves from them by sequestering them away where they will not disrupt “normal” ways of life, they are largely unable to practice social distancing to protect themselves from COVID-19. At the same time, capitalism, pollution, social media, and protests or social movements are also deemed viral.
As social media have become the new standard channels for facilitating social movements, the symbols and slogans used and injustices claimed by respective proponents tend to be co-opted from opposing sides or prior historical movements and sound increasingly indistinguishable. In a given context, what is a "virus," and who are "we" and "they?" As "resist" has political and immunization-related meanings, what does it mean to "resist the virus?"
The sculpture aims not to deem certain positions (in)correct, but--through also referencing incantation, subconscious programming and auto-pilot operation--to challenge viewers to examine the assumptions and contradictions operative in their own default or habitual interpretations of, or positions with respect to, world events or figures, and to consider whether those defaults effect a "normal" we'd like to return to, or overhaul.
(Note: Because the camera lens does not see like human eyes do through the lenses of the actual sculpture, I created animated lenses replicating the rotation of the lenses. The sounds are the actual motor sounds recorded.)