First iteration of the project at, It's Happening: Celebrating 50 Years of Public Art in NYC Parks. Central Park, Oct 21, 2017
Life on the Other Side of a Cracked Glass Ceiling
Why is it usually “NO” that inspires action? Certainly it is understandable, in the face of systemic racism and sexism, hate-groups, and the present administration’s clear support of these things, its all we have time for. However, I pose that even with the chaos around us, our quest should also be based on “YES”, our existence shouldn’t rely upon its own negation. Life on the other Side of the Cracked Ceiling is a proposal of what that “YES” life might be like. In the text Pedagogy of the Oppressed, one of the main sources for the theories behind feminist pedagogy, Theater of the Oppressed and countless other movements, humanization and dehumanization are the ways groups exploit these 2 opposing realities to maintain power. The project seeks to explore, unpack, address, and ultimately continue to dismantle hierarchies that since the election of Trump have catapulted into hyperdrive. The book opens with these lines:
While the problem of humanization has always, from an axiological point of view, been humankind’s central problem, it now takes on the character of an inescapable concern. Concern for humanization leads at once to the recognition of dehumanization, not only as an ontological possibility but as an historical reality. And as the individual perceives the extent of dehumanization is a viable possibility within history, in concrete, objective contexts, both humanization and dehumanization are possibilities for a person as an uncompleted being conscious of their incompletion. Paulo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
The piece itself is prospective, an idea of what life might be like experiencing “YES”. It is an installation of place that leaves space for voices that are not part of a white patriarchy.
A lofted floor constructed of broken glass imbedded in reinforced resin will be installed on scaffolding. Scaffolding is a structure used for repair and for building new, an impermanent system when a structure is in process. The broken glass side of the floor isn’t exposed but well lit from underneath creating a glowing smooth new floor above for people to walk, talk, play, learn and dance upon. The underneath of the floor drips into stalactites of the same material making “below” the cracked glass ceiling into a forgotten cave, as if to say “remember before this?”. Well lit from below, the glowing floor creates a new space, one where we will begin to imagine a different way of being in the real world, just beyond the boundaries of the sculpture. The shape of the cracked ceiling, uses a number of significant places as its model including, but not limited to, the beach in Brooklyn where Washington’s Fort Defiance once stood at the mouth of the New York City harbor (now overlooking the Statue of Liberty) and the floorpan of Susan B. Anthony’s attic office where she and Frederick Douglas fought together in the battles for suffrage and abolition. This glass ceiling is one of many, a compilation of moments and places in our history where there was violence but also possibility.
Ultimately, the project should travel to various sites with a specific goal of presenting in red spaces. Although white men are invited to attend, the project’s activities will be led and facilitated by women and people of color. “Woman” will be based on transgender definitions and as such its presenters will represent diversity in race, sexual orientation, age, culture, religion and nationality. The events will also be diverse; using a popular education model: skills, readings, lectures, and classes will be shared not given. Culture and making are to be used hand in hand with text, lecture, and discussion such that our hands and bodies are at work while our heads work as well. Liberation is a full body process.
This 5 minute video shows digital renderings of the work at proposed full scale in both indoor and outdoor locations as well as includes video documentation from the initial presentation of the work at New York's Central Park.
From It's Happening, Oct 21, 2017