site index

Picture of the Day
yesterday | today tomorrow

July 4, 2005



BBQ at Ragan's house in Wallingford, Sarah and I left just before the fireworks but then 1/5th of the way home I begged to see them and luckily Sarah had to go back for her purse and by the time she got back to the intersection of Wallingford Ave and 34th Street they'd just finished the national anthem (the lyrics to which are an absurd glorification of war and fetishization of starred and striped cloth) and a huge military helicopter was circling lake union dragging a huge american flag underneath while loudspeakers played ray charles. people actually cheered as the spotlit flag made its final pass. i can relate to that kind of patriotism--i felt it very strongly as a child and still remember a 4th of july parade when i was 6 during which i proudly and energetically waved a cheap plastic flag where the stars and other white parts were actually clear. but patriotism is a childish thing, born of an us/them schoolyard mentality which preys on people's need to be accepted by an artificial extended family (to use kurt vonnegut's term based on his anthropological studies). the irony is that independence day is a celebration of revolution, of ousting greedy businessmen from power; to commemorate it with a slavish display of flag worship and wild cheering for the fruits of runaway military spending (taxation without representation if ever there was any) is just silly. anyway, the fireworks were pleasantly benign. if we're going to have huge explosions in the sky, let them be harmless and pretty. then we went home and i stayed up late writing this artist statement for a exhibit sarah is pitching to the good folks at Portland's Orlo Gallery:

My goal is to find good uses for "trash."

Landfills are filling up, toxins leach into the ground, literal mountains of waste grow everyday, factories keep churning out product, forests are being laid waste, global warming and overfishing are killing the one world ocean. Most days I catch a glimpse of the traffic on I-5, 8 lanes wide, slow-moving vehicles packed in tight. An amazing site even if it happened just one time, but it's like that day after day and shows no signs of abating. The people angry in their cars look less than human, as if the windshield were a TV screen and they're trapped inside, imprisoned by the dream they were conditioned to buy.

So I pick up car-flattened aluminum cans, collect them in a duffle bag, and occasionally assemble them into spirals. I want to bring attention to the chronic degradation of the environment, prevent some material from entering the waste stream, and transform the energy of casual indifference (littering) through an act of reclamation and creativity.

Spiral is a fundamental form; it is the shape of our galaxy. To stare at the center of a spiral more than a few feet in diameter causes the edges of vision to curve and undulate. It's just an optical illusion, but it is central to the piece to literally change the way people see.