Twin Tower Mathematics, 2016

joeldempseydean@gmail.com





Powers of 7-8-9

Dear Joel,

Jason and I are trudging through your press release text--it's heavy. All the historical descriptions of the twin towers feels particularly intense given the political climate right now. So much of your text talks about the "balance" between two harmonious architectural entities crumbling to the ground and being replaced by a hegemonic monolith. I can't help but think about the two-party political system, and this toxic dichotomy that has made such a mess of this country in an acute way since 9/11--or how binaries always seem to fail. It's almost like we're living in those suspenseful asymmetrical 29 minutes (between the falling of tower 1 and tower 2) before the whole thing crumbles. I love your reflections on the countdown (count up?) to the end of the twentieth century and framing it through this preoccupation with scale and idealism and architecture in reference to the Eames' "Powers of 10".

I'm not sure how to transform the text you sent into clear and cogent language that helps make your research and references neatly explain the objects you are working on for the show. I think part of why you're struggling with the text (and why Jason and I are too) is that there feels like a renewed urgency for art to help us locate our humanity and our confusion and our anxiety in a moment when no tweet or talking head or think piece can. Art speak and cleverness and sharp research doesn't feel right anymore. I want a grunting, stupid, but honest language--a language that tears off our mask of entitlement and separation. So here's my shot at explaining your show:

Joel is a twin, he grew up in Atlanta during the economic abundance of the 90's and his childhood was characterized by "you-can-do-anything" directives from the baby boomers that brought our generation into the world; parents who grew up with their own promise of a new liberal social order following the protests and upset of the late 1960's. Joel was just exiting childhood and entering the abyss of teenage gloom when the twin towers came down. The external event provided a clear break from the innocence of childhood, and set in motion a violent global reorganization more in tune with the chaos of a changing teenage body.

Now Joel is an adult living in New York City, wondering how to ascribe any kind of order to a zoomed out version of his context as the planet buckles under the gigantic ego of productivity and human exceptionalism. A table set to serve its own severed leg, two cities fit into one, a child with an imagination made of wood, two abici, and a split line of communication… “Powers of 7-8-9” is a historical mashup cum art exhibition that playfully turns a value system against itself. Here, a cultural reference, turned riddle, turned allegory replaces Eames’ Powers of 10’s promise of exponential growth towards infinity with, instead, a building set of single digits that might propose a new cadence for indivisibility.

How's that?
Love,
Erin and Jason




www.inter-species.us

Jerry Cullum for Arts Atl
Victoria Camblin for Art in America


No Body Can Say No
carved wood
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Tin Can Telephone
found objects
2016
The table is set, so now eat
enamel on wood, ceramics
2016
Twin Tower Mathematics
wood, steel
2016
City
founds objects
2016
Tin Can Telephone
found objects
2016
Architectual Digest
found objects
2016

The Transformative Power of Symbolism in Storytelling

ostrich egg, alphabet pasta, squid ink
2016

Strategy Focused Organization

found objects
2016

A human guide to inter-dimensional politics and shadow policy under a dying sun

wood, steel, brass, apple, peanut, peach pit, hydrocal, sumi ink
2016

Empty Stomach Challenge

A beekeeper begins reading a story. The story's words are written in an ever-expanding combination of numbers and symbols. The numbers and symbols are are variables in the evolution of a self-generating algorithm. The algorithm's rate of growth and complexity is accelerated exponentially with the calculation of each sentence. The beekeeper watches in amazement as the code continuously compounds. This is a story about growth.
[Honey, I shrunk the kids.]

The beekeeper now understands a few specific memories from its past as dots connected in an abstract timeline; a count-down to worldwide integration. Juvenile fictions from the past mature into a fact called future as echoes of an empty present find resonance in the form of a relentless crescendo.
[Honey, I blew up the kid.]

The beekeeper folds the story in half, adding dimension to the previously flat narrative. The angle breaks the equation. The algorithm reverses into a degenerative free fall. The incoherent gibberish of an increasingly intricate self-similar pattern crystallizes into a beautiful downward spiral.
[Honey, we shrunk ourselves.]

The story's new edge cuts the suspense. A concluding event appears just over the horizon. A string of taps against a bed of dormant solar panels resembles a fruitless drum-fill awaiting an overdue punch-line. [Honey, we don’t have any more Honey.]


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