“REMOTE CONTROL”, audience-participatory audio installation, mixed media, 20’x20’x10’, 1991
“REMOTE CONTROL” is an audio installation that looks at the connections between our relationship to the environment and the educational system. It comments on how our present system encourages passivity in the face of contradictions, and discourages taking risks to change the status quo. It presents hope in the form of symbolic deviants, individual “desks” who resist social programming.
The installation was made up of 16 desks. Twelve were handmade of scavenged wood. Their legs were uneven and they appeared to be crippled. The top surface was covered with a tight (drum-like) skin of translucent, tracing paper. Each of these desks has rote-like text drawn on its surface: "My desk must be neat and tidy....", "I will not speak out of turn...", "I will not question the teacher....", "The policeman is my friend...", etc. The four remaining desks are actual, old school desks covered with plaster, newspaper, grass, dirt, etc. Their lids are open revealing drought-resistant plants growing out of dirt.
An oversized teacher's desk sits in the front of the room with a rusty old t.v. antenna placed on skin-like paper. An audio track seems to emerge from inside that desk. One voice speaks in an authoritarian way, saying how everything is under control, and another voice speaks nostalgically: "But I remember what it was like to take a deep breath of clean air..." This rhythm of voices repeats in a six minute loop. The walls of the installation are painted "blackboard" green and the audience is invited to share stories of how their "education" made them feel connected or disconnected to the web of life.
Exhibitions: the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Costa Mesa, the South Bay Contemporary Museum in Torrance, CA (both in 1991), and Dark's Art Parlor, Santa Ana (1994)