“AND NOW Behind Curtain #2,” interactive installation with gameboard, mixed media 25’x35’x8’, 2005-2014.
“AND NOW Behind Curtain #2” is an interactive installation that examines the trance of the dominant culture, deconstructs several myths through personal and collective stories, and invites viewers to participate in a game that looks at the effects of activism in our daily lives.
“ANBC#2” consists of 18 hanging “curtains” that form a life-size spiral (aprox 25’x35’) that the audience can walk through and around. The 5’x 4’ curtains or panels are actually cloth apertures made out of deconstructed, used clothing sewn together. In the center of each panel is a digitized, photographic portrait of a newscaster (20”x 28”) who is gagged or blind-folded with a corporate logo. Underneath each portrait is a line of text, for example: “Our beliefs are the right ones,” “If you don’t agree with us, you are the enemy” or “Good patriots will go to the malls.” The 18 panels on the outside of the spiral suggest the forces of dominant culture that are attempting or succeeding at hypnotizing us. The images on the inside of the spiral investigate, through the stories of individuals and their digitally drawn portraits, ways to deconstruct those myths.
In the center of the paneled spiral is a game board on a round table surrounded by four stools. The game invites the players to throw the dice and they land on either “bomb” spaces (featuring discouragement cards) or “hands reaching out” spaces (encouragement cards). Discouragement cards say things such as “your teacher loses her job for speaking out against the war, move back 3 spaces” and Encouragement cards say things such as “activist group defeats developer through direct action, move forward 4 spaces.” Players experience different feelings (amusement, connection, etc.) as they learn about the challenges and rewards of being an activist. At the end of the game, as all players arrive in the center of the spiral, they form a temporary affinity group. The players are then invited to share their own stories about standing up for something they believe in, organizing in their communities. The game concludes when all the players enter the center circle of the game board. They are encouraged to form an affinity group, with each person discussing some experience of activism or their fears about being or becoming an activist. They are invited to add their story to the archive of activism stories, in the pockets in the skirt surrounding the game board. The archive now holds hundreds of such stories.
“ANBC#2” debuted at the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum in Germany in June 2005 as part of an exhibition entitled “Spielraume” (Game Room) that included the work of several international artists. It has also been displayed at the NW Folklife Festival, Seattle (2012), the Wallingford Center, Seattle (2012) and the Karl Drerup Gallery, Plymouth State University, NH (2014).