Chronic Revelator

2006

Variable dimensions;  Cement mixer, sand, water, cameras, wood, clock-works

For Chronic Revelator I made a rock-polisher from a cement mixer filled with water and sand, which I then used to age a selection of old 35mm cameras.

The cameras were put into this time machine and tumbled around for a few months, slowly weathering down into more organic looking forms. About 15-20% of them turned into anything interesting.

Afterwards, I cleaned them off and buffed them to a polish.

Whenever I show these I have the cement mixer going, occasionally belching out a spray of sand and mud onto the floor of the exhibition space.

Dendrochronisity

In the heavily forested towns and cities of Northern California there is a folk tradition of setting a clockwork into a large chunk of wood.  Often these are made from big pieces of redwood, a slice of burl, and sometimes even driftwood. They remind me of the highly artificed clocks created during the Rococo period. Artisans at that time would place clockworks inside of irregularly shaped frames that had an exuberance of organic forms. For Chronic Revelator I made several of these devices, placing the clockworks on the backside of the wood with only a tiny part of the hidden mechanism peeking out from behind.

Inspiration

There is a beach about twenty miles south of San Francisco that I visit in order to collect driftwood. One time while walking on this beach I found a drift cell phone. Someone’s gadget had found its way into the ocean, tumbling and sanding into a gently rounded form. The plastic cover had come off and all of its electronic innards had rusted into a solid mass, yet the touch pads and screen were still easy to see. This drift cell phone, a technologically sophisticated artifact, had taken on the appearance of something both ancient and natural, and was part of the inspiration for this body of work.

At first I filled my rock-polisher a selection of cellphones and other newly out of date high-tech products. This did not work out that well as these tended to disintegrated into the tiny components they were originally constructed from. 35mm cameras, a brand new form of pollution, succeeded best. In chemical photography the camera is basically a hollow void surrounded by a sturdy housing.

Chronic Revelator, was shown in 2006 at the Pomona College Museum,  in April 2007 at Gallery 16 in SF.