Thursday, May 1, 2008

Swept under the Rug: My most recent artwork

not my cup of tea
Veteran's Day 2007. While Bush Jr. was visiting with wounded war veterans, I decided to pay homage to him with a sculpture. I wanted to emulate his project in the Middle East as best as I could, following a similar pattern and using similar elements. Of course mine would be metaphoric.

his began like this:

The eleventh hour, in the eleventh day, of the the eleventh month, I began to lay out the initial pieces. I used a pattern I had found on the internet.

I started by laying out some common elements to form geometric shapes.
Then I poked holes and used wire to attach things.
Everytime I did something once, I did it a dozen times.
I was using the plastic bases from toy soldiers, as well as American coins.

Each base, stamped CHINA, had cost me approximately one cent.
Plastic coins....
...worth less than nothing.
By making a pattern with these objects, I was increasing their value, investing them in art.
Like the investment my government is making in the Middle East, a certain amount of destruction necessarily accompanies growth.
My government is also creating a pattern...
...using mostly the same money, and a little bit from abroad.

In essence, I'm doing the same thing as my country, creating a Persian carpet from these materials. The only ingredient missing is the body parts.
Luckily, I have those too.
Lots of them.
Arms and legs, and torsos, and heads. Piles and piles.
Plus, I was ready, willing and able to make more.

But was it enough?
Our death toll was nearly 4000 then, now it's larger.
A persian carpet with this many soldiers would be gigantic.
I'm ambitious, but not crazy.

I decided to make a throwrug, and leave the high numbers to the government.

A few hundred soldiers were all I would need.
I wove them together using brass wire.
The resulting fabric was like a plastic mat.
The torsos were placed in a repeating pattern.
Wires pass thru each torso at 4 points.
Slowly, the pattern grew.

About halfway through, I realized I was going to run out of soldiers. The toy store where I was getting them was out, thanks to me.
To remedy this dilemma, one corner of the carpet is discolored and stained.
The background complete, I began to create the border.

I wanted to run the entire perimeter with legs stitched together to form a fringe.
Stacks of coins became design elements.
I never broke symmetry.
Finally, the piece was finished.
The pattern was complete.
The central arena became a parking lot. The Persian Carpet was finished.

I had succeeded in metaphorically completing the project that my government has also been working on, with zero casualties and in less than 3 months. I didn't locate any weapons of mass destruction either...

No comments: