Multi-Didactic October 2001
Mixed media installation: Small rug, transparent acrylic cube, wire basket, stainless steel bucket, rope, shaped painted boards and lettering
300 x 69 x 100 cm
This installation was prompted by the events of September 2001. I had, prior to the momentous bombings in the USA been contemplating addressing the issue of suicide, in rural NSW. I had come to learn of the vast numbers of suicides and the fact that they were largely brushed under the carpet so to speak, devastated me. No-one discussed these suicides and I felt compelled to make some sort of artistic statement.
The bombings of September 11th prompted me to respond to both issues in the same work. The bombings however took centre stage in the development of my installation. I combined two salient notions in my approach. The first was that the whole world seemed to out of sync and this resulted in a gigantic imbalance. I conceived of a scale of religious opposites, two hypothetically suspended buckets which did not balance. The second and more important idea was that I perceive that there is little or no compassion among the powers that be in the world. The symbols I have deployed for these polar opposites are the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. Two circular disks with their discrete symbols were placed each half way down their respective buckets to form the surfaces of half full /half empty vessels.
The Red Cross representing the West’s “coalition of the willing”, their shiny stainless steel Crusaders bucket hanging high and suspended off a thick rope tied in an hangman’s noose. To make it particularly germane to Australians, I added the text “lest we forget”, the reprise used after Laurence Binyon’s poem “For the Fallen” at military remembrance services.
The Red Crescent represents the Muslim Jihadi extremists of the world and their bucket is a skeleton which is located under a transparent acrylic box on a small prayer mat on the floor. Above the acrylic box is a dusting brush also suspended from a smaller hangman’s noose.
The work is intended to provoke a correspondence or thoughtfulness on the current imbalance and lack of compassion in the world. More than a decade since making this work little has changed.