VAULT (The Tower: Lower Level), 2016
Sodium chloride, potassium chloride, concrete, statues (bonded marble, acrylic), ellipsoidal light, anodized aluminum, hardware.
VAULT […] is the first installment of The Tower, an ongoing project that takes shape through the framework of a theoretical megastructure as a fragmented sequence of sculptural cross sections, never as a fully integrated, vertically erect architectural whole. Each cross section represents a floor or level of the larger structural fantasy. VAULT is at once subterranean and past, a family tomb to bury an ancient lineage of religious mythology, warped gender relations, rape culture (and by extension, war culture), and obsolete means of reproduction. This historicized burial ground exists in the deep bowels of The Tower, a nether region where ideologies go to die. (However, their spirits may remain undead…specters that continue to haunt…) The project’s forthcoming levels address the present, the immediate future, or late (final) futures, and are in production currently through 2018.
The project seeks to forge intersections of ancient lore, contemporary queer theory, and science-fictional proposals of a queer futurism steeped in issues of trans-identity and the revolutionary advent of the cyborg and/or posthuman condition whereby biological and synthetic life forms coalesce to forever alter the course of humanity and transform (or obfuscate) the very definitions of its nature. In this way, something of a queer mythology emerges. In VAULT, the project’s narrative builds upon the mythological lore of Hermaphroditus, the fated offspring of Hermes and Aphrodite—a progeny already born from dubious coercion. This project does not seek to glorify the horrors of abuse, but does consider trauma as a potential catalyst for self-empowered transformation. As such, the myth effectively delivers an ancient vision for a queer being, and the complexity, beauty, and power inherent therein. The myth also provides an early example of the dissolution of gender binaries and the queer being’s elevation and inclusion with the divine.
Through allegorical material associations and alchemical experimentation, speculative evolution of reproductive systems in tandem with technological advancements, the potential thus arises for a restructuring of gender-based power structures. Philosophical intersections of cumbersome histories, transsexual anatomies (physical expressions of identity via pharmacological and medical advancements), and architectural technologies fantastically surmount the Tower’s (or our current regime’s) chaotic reign and the power to wield world-making (or breaking) forces.
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