Installation - The Dream Machine
In the centre of a small, dark room is a tall, cylindrical column made from perforated, stainless steel -2’ x 7’, a little bit larger than a person. Inside the column is a cool white LED light that slowly rotates, casting a myriad of elliptical lights and shadows onto the walls, ceiling & floor; (see images 1-5 which is a maquette of the cylinder casting shadows). Each of the walls of the room is painted a different colour that reference the colours used in my paintings; pale bubble-gum pink, pale ultramarine blue, lime green, & citrus yellow. The colours on the walls are matt in finish. On this matt finish is painted ellipses of the same colour in high gloss paint. As the light rotates, it catches and reflects off of the shine.
When entering the darkened room, each participant is given a head phone and a recording of the following text/poem spoken by me (see attached text for the Dream Machine).
The text is a reflection on changing concepts of utopia and their eventual collapse. Each of the stanzas reflects on my memories of a personal experience; staying at Svetlana Stalin’s apartment in Moscow three months after the collapse of the Soviet Union and travelling across Siberia on the train in 1992; in 2002, giving an artist talk at the original Bauhaus, again an art school & visiting Buchenwald Concentration Camp, just a short drive up the same road in Weimar, Germany; & observations on a road trip across Ohio in 2009, right after the economic collapse in the USA.
The text mingles these personal experiences with fragments appropriated from well-known poetry by T.S. Eliot & Lawrence Ferlinghetti, & references to ‘Waiting for Godot’ Samuel Beckett, Walter Benjamin’s famous ‘angel of history’, the pop song, Bye, Bye Miss American Pie, Don McLean, & Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.
Imagine walking into one of my paintings; such as ‘‘Joyride’ #3 (see image). This proposed immersive installation, ‘The Dream Machine’, seeks to suggest this experience in an actual, instead of virtual way, while continuing in the conceptual ideas developed in my previous work. The work is in part inspired by Moholy-Nagy’s Light / Space Modulator 1922-30.
The Dream Machine Text- Janet Jones
Lost in orbit, we broadcast our dreams through space, like shooting stars. Through the cyber-nite, our longings are cast adrift, to be liked by strangers. We wait ...but Godot is missing in time & space; sucked into the black hole of Instagram; hovering like Benjamin’s angel; or found floating in the Sargasso Sea amongst the plastic barbies.
1992 Moscow, Russia
Staying at Svetlana Stalin’s former apartment, the house on the embankment overlooking the Kremlin. The ghosts from her father’s past mingle with the canary’s songs. The artists cast figurines of Columbus upside down, while the bronze heroes of the revolution lie face-down in the parks. The chandeliers in the subways, the ‘People’s Palaces’, rattle.
Everywhere, the air is thick with the end of a dream fallen apart & an ecstatic greed for another dream that is neither known nor understood.
On the train across Siberia, the track reads 800, 900, 1,000 miles from Moscow. We enter the Wild West of anarchy. An industrial pipe spews citron yellow into a neat vegetable garden. Everyone who has dreams has fled.
2002 Weimar, Germany
I look up ...way, way up through the beech trees, into the bright blue sky above Blood Road. I dream of escaping through the clouds, Ex Machina. The trees are scarred with names.
On this same road, I am sitting in Mies’ office. In this tiny room, the dreams of the Bauhaus seem to have been squeezed into a ball.
Should we have / had the courage to force this moment, to its crisis?
But, like Prufrock, in short, we are, we
Even now, two visions collide & ignite. The spectre of one, too grotesque to call a dream, burns under the surface.
2009 Canton, Ohio
We drive through the streets. Tiny wooden houses with peeling paint and foot long lawns lie discarded.
Let us not worry about the payments
anymore. Let them come and take it away whatever it was we were paying for. And us with it. But, unlike Ferlinghetti, few of us are Beat poets.
In the gymnasiums of yesteryear, the teenagers dance, their dreams sucked into that revolving ball of mirrors that once powdered them with a snow of light.
The American Dream, lived out in a MacDonald’s parking lot. Bye, bye Miss American Pie.
The Dream Machine, never sleeps. Like the slow-moving creature on our computer screen, it morfs into many forms, sometimes an angel, sometimes a monster. We are the stuff that dreams are made of.
Our angel or monster awaits....