January 8, 2012
My latest installation, titled Tomorrow’s Headlines, is up now through January 26 at San Francisco’s SOMArts Cultural Center. I created the piece for the exhibition Get Lucky:
The Culture of Chance, a centennial birthday celebration of John Cage that investigates
the implications of chance operation in the arts and across cultures.
Tomorrow’s Headlines is an interactive piece that invites the public to manipulate a set of forty cardboard boxes of various colors, shapes, and embellishments to create an evolving series of structural and graphic permutations over the course of the exhibition. By combining the boxes’ diverse letterforms and symbols in various ways, guests may speculate on future language hybrids with which to write tomorrow’s headlines today.
The future viability of these invented headlines is unknowable of course. So I added a more quantifiable element of chance to the art by assigning a ‘correct’ order to the boxes. While that secret arrangement isn’t likely to be re-created during the run of the show, the match would quite certainly occur if the boxes were re-configured in perpetuity according to the infinite monkey theorem. This well-known parable — which my ‘correct’ headline references — states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter key-board for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.
Ultimately though, I’m more concerned with unpredictability than inevitability. I’m interested in the installation’s course of mutation (and mutilation) over time; a narrative driven by human interaction. As these cardboard towers of Babel rise and fall daily, they generate streams of shifting typographic prophecies box by box, glyph by letter, and color by shape through intent and accident, amounting to unique convergences of cause and happenstance. The only guarantee is surprise — a winning proposition.
“Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance” is curated by Justin Hoover and Hanna Regev.
Exhibiting artists are Nick Agid, Kirkman Amyx, Michael Bartalos, Richard Berger, Antonio Cortez, EXCOR (led by Sherry Parker), Mauro ffortisimo, Nancy Genn, Bryan Hewitt, Vita Hewitt, Robin Hill, Janet Jones, Nolan Jones, Theodora Varnay Jones, Jonathon Keats, Scott Kildall, Naomie Kremer, Jon Kuzmich, Garrett La Fever, Tony May, Jim Melchert, David Middlebrook, David Molina, Luke Ogrydziak, Sandra Ortiz Taylor, Zoe Prillinger, Renee Rhodes, Tim Roseborough, Micky Tachibana, Kenneth Wilkes and Michelle Wilson.
Kenneth Baker’s San Francisco Chronicle review of the show is here.
SOMArts Cultural Center is at 934 Brannan Street at 8th Street in San Francisco. Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–7pm, Saturday,12–5pm. Admission is free.