the Great Fear-Book Rm
Wood Frame, Outward Facing Books, Metal Floor Grate, Video Beyond Grate
approx 8'octagon x 7'H
I grew up in suburban New York State in a middle class Roman Catholic household in the 1970s. I remember a very distinct sense of mood in the air from those times: a mixture of insecurity, neurosis, superstition, national malaise (Watergate/recession/TMI/Post Vietnam conflict/son of sam, etc.). I remember the impression of fear that many of these stories and incidents had upon me as a child. I was horrified by the realization that an invisible substance (radiation/demonic forces) could penetrate the security of my home without warning and destroy my loved ones and I. I was interested in constructing a work which documented this retreat from invisible fears into the familiar arms of home, family, and education; and of the ultimately futile result of this quest.
This installation assumed the form of five major spaces and an adjoining hallway. The entrance to the piece was set into a foyer which resembled a truncated living room. Viewers were invited to crawl underneath a vertically extended chair to access the remaining spaces. From underneath the chair the viewer emerged into an elongated tunnel fabricated to resemble the interior body of the chair; illuminated by nightlights.This passage lead to a large cedar closet in which old coats hung from racks flanking the central path. Once through the closet the viewer entered a gable shaped corridor whose wall system was composed entirely of outward facing book pages. The corridor spilled out into an octagonal chamber also of books. Set into the central wall of this chamber was metal floor grate through which a video re-looped. The image depicted two figures clad in hazmat suits applying a fluid like substance to a door lintel ( a not-so-oblique reference to the Old Testament story where the Israelites protected their homes as the angel of death descended upon the first born of Egypt). Exiting this chamber one emerged into a dark hallway muffled in quilts and childrens blankets. This hall lead to the final space: a cruciform room constructed entirely of darkened old windows, and a floor surface of topsoil.