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Why did you decide to add the QR codes to the installation?
I was talking to a curator who brought up, how do you give access to someone who doesn't have a smartphone. You're creating this technology barrier. She definitely thought that was a negative. Especially coming from the museum's perspective. The museum's all about getting people in, making them feel comfortable with the work. But a lot of the funding for museums comes from old people, and old people don't know how to use smartphones and QR codes. I am really interested in this relationship between the information and being able to understand it and not understand it. We constantly are engaged with systems that we maybe don't understand. Like, I don't understand physics. There's a system there in place, it's a language that I don't know how to utilize, so I find it very confusing. I could go and learn it, and then have access to that set of data. And that plays into this idea that I'm interested in, about the barrier between this information and the viewer, and if you want to engage it's going to take a little work—if you want to engage with the data. You can engage with the work, there are plenty of things about the space, how the pods inter-relate to each other, and what that says about ideas and content without being able to have that data.
But why not just show the map instead of using QR codes?
Most people I talk to about exhibiting this piece, their first instinct is that they want me to show the messiah map as well. But I really don't want to show it. The piece "2am-2pm" (2006) is a three-dimensional bus map of the Minneapolis-St. Paul transit system from 2am to 2pm. You're not really given any of that information that I just told you, but I think that you can gather when you look at it that there's some kind of structure, some kind of subset of data or information or system that created the piece. The piece isn't haphazard looking. So it seems like there was some kind of play. What that plan was, well, if you go to the title it relates to time in some way, you know there's some digging you can do. But are you going to get to Minneapolis? Probably not. But is that important? I don't really think it is.
But that idea of wanting to show data and not wanting to show it; I put a lot of effort into gathering the data. You start to know what's important to you when people suggest things and you're like, ee, uh, that's just not gonna happen. I never say really no; I started as a potter, when you're in ceramics it's either ceramic sculpture or pottery, and there's this battle between those two worlds, it's very charged dialogue, within a subculture of a subculture of a subculture, but there's a lot there. But when I was making pottery I said, I'll never make clay sculpture. And then I started making clay sculpture and I said, I'll never make mixed-media sculpture. And then I did. And then, I'll never not use clay. And this is actually the first time I've used clay in eight or nine years, which was really uncomfortable. I used to be really, really good, and kind of arrogant, to the point where I found myself saying, I can do anything in clay. Then I stopped using clay, and when I started making these pieces it was really frustrating because it had been so long, your hands forget how to do it. And on top of that, I used to feel so confident about doing it, like I could do anything, and now I'm trying to make these little stupid fucking clay pieces, and I feel completely inept. It only lasted about two days, and now I'm feeling pretty comfortable again, but it was definitely a very weird three days. It is like riding a bike, you remember, and your hands start to remember that memory of touch and how you worked tools.