INDUSTRIAL SPECTACLES (2015-2016)
Art historian Petra Lange-Berndt writes that, to be complicit with materials is “to understand the history of the materials used, to research other contexts in which they were applied, to follow their traces ... in [Jacques] Derrida’s phrase, to ‘make the matériel laugh.’”
Steel, concrete, and duct tape are the building materials of our world. As a structural material, steel is no doubt a symbol for technology and modernity in the 20th century, and it propulsed the use of concrete in architecture. Since its reemergence in the late 19th century, concrete has become perhaps the most widely used building material around the globe, thanks to its flexibility and compliant nature. From Zaha Hadid’s London Olympics Aquatics Centre to the low cost buildings in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, it is the material that we live in. In comparison to the two architectural materials, duct tape seems to stick out as a sore thumb, as a cheap material people find in aisle 15 at Home Depot when they need to tape up their broken car window. Unbeknownst to most, during the Apollo 17 mission, duct tape became a savior to the astronauts when they desperately tried to repair a broken fender on their moonbuggy. The last time man walked on the Moon also happened to be duct tape’s most glorious moment. My work gives agency to these accessible and democratic, yet powerful, materials through manipulation of their physicality and their recontextualization.
Just as the qualities of materials can be revealed or concealed, eyewear also has the power to hide, expose, or even create aspects of personalities. If jewelry is a form of personal expression, then eyewear is one of the most powerful and direct forms of jewelry with its unique anthropomorphizing ability to disguise and project personas. Akin to monuments, symbols of civilization with uncanny agency, eyewear acts as a symbol of a persona. The relationship between eyewear and its wearer then becomes symbiotic. On one hand the wearer desires the personality embodied in the eyewear, and on the other hand, the personality calls for activation by the wearer. Sue Lyon becomes Lolita; Malcolm Little becomes Malcolm X; Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris becomes Le Corbusier.