Quotation Marks, 1998-99
My thesis involves the process of launching two giant balloons each bearing an image of a pair of quotation marks in flight.
These balloons, 10-ft. in diameter, will hover over an open field. Each pair of quotation marks carries a videocam focused on the landscape between both symbols – documenting in bird’s-eye view the specific place “quote-unquoted”. The third videocam on land documents the entire work from the ground.
My thesis is a further development of my “Quotation Marks Paintings” done last year for my third-year mini-thesis. A quotation mark, is one of the marks placed at the beginning and end of a quoted word or passage. In English usage, one or two inverted commas mark the beginning of a quotation, and, correspondingly, one or two apostrophes mark the close (the single marks usually being used to set off a quotation within a quotation), to repeat or cite (a rule, author, etc.) as for authority or illustration.
Given the limitations of my earlier “paintings”, in its two-dimensional form, “quote-unquote” objects in the same place. My present thesis is intended to be an environmental expansion of the idea, involving a more sculptural space. Compared to the paintings which are very limited in their functions, this version expands into more environmental dimensions. Using the sky as an integral element of the entire piece, and applied with other methods of artistic expression as video – these conventional symbols are transformed from the flat, wall-bound quotation marks to three-dimensional free-floating objects, quoting a larger physical context such as an open field or landscape.
The dictionary defines above as superior in rank or position; surpassing in authority, quality, or power; rising beyond; in heaven. To see from above is a reflection of a change in man’s perspective from a horizontal viewpoint to above the ground bird’s-eye view. As our ancestors once gazed upwards into the sky, now we look down upon the earth from monuments, aircraft, satellites and soon, spacecraft. The ground, as the base or foundation, from which we came – mankind has risen above its worldly realm and has assumed the role of gods having dominion over everything else. Even in the realm of “art”, paintings have evolved from a horizontal to a vertical point of view. Still Life is viewed from above the table, the landscape is painted from high-rise structures and even the first photograph of Paris was taken from a balloon. The projected images of the earth on the wall assume the role of a landscape painting engulfing the viewer with its vastness and awesomeness.
The presentation incorporates two TV monitors, placed on the floor with a considerable amount of space between them, each representing a pair of quotation marks displaying the video documentation on the wall. Each videocam is connected to a TV monitor using 300-ft. audio/video cables, thus showing real-time documentation of the landscape. A third videocam, situated on the ground documents both of the balloons, which is connected to another TV monitor displaying the worm’s-eye view documentation. Everything is happening simultaneously in real-time.