An appliance, an echo, and a mirror

Body of work: Public works

A careful reproduction of a 1970s era vacuum cleaner, found abandoned on a street corner in the city of Berkeley, California. I created it with the intention of re-installing it in public space as a reflection on our impact on each other and on our contributions to public life and public space– whether intentional or not.

By remaking this vacuum in brass and re-mounting it outdoors, where the original had been placed, I’m trying to highlight it. Its polished brass catches the sunlight like a golden beam of light, makes it impossible to look past, and forces us to wonder: why? How did this thing come to be here? Does it have meaning? Does it have a past, a history, a story? And, ironically, it doesn’t. This version, infinitely more visible — a piece of artwork — can only be a symbol of the original thing. It has no secret half-century life, tied to the intimate story of some unknown person or persons. And yet, each being exactly the same dimensions and shape as the other, it also forces us to consider the agency we have. This one was sanctioned, placed with intention. The other was cast away, thoughtlessly. And yet, they both exist equally in our public space. We walk past and live with both: each making itself a metaphor for all the ways our actions ripple out into and come to live in the world. Whether intentionally or carelessly, we create the physical and social world that we share. There’s no such thing as not impacting those we share our lives, our space, and our world with and the stories of our actions are in everything around us.

Brass
14″ x 15″ x 44″
2018