© 2019 by Steve Totin

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The Cognitive Dissonance of Materials

duration: 00:06:02

2017- Ongoing

My ongoing project, The Cognitive Dissonance of Materials asks the question: what makes a material useful? And if that material had its own agency and could decide for itself what it would be used for, would the material be progressive in its decision?

 

Laser-etched onto bricks purchased from Home Depot is the text:

 

"Any us of this brick for the construction of a wall renders it obsolete and completely useless."

 

Accompanying this English version are seven other translations of the statement in languages of countries that have had, still have, or are building border |walls|.

 

|  Spanish  |  Mandarin Chinese  |  Hebrew  |  Hungarian  |  Turkish  |  German  | Korean |

        More  |  translations  |   are  |    added   |    as    |   I   |  discover  |    more    |   walls   |   …   |

 

I take the laser-etched bricks back to the Home Depot from where they were purchased and insert them into the existing stacks of bricks and leave them there. I film the action using hidden cameras and take photo documentation. 

 

Once returned to Home Depot the altered bricks become art objects or readymades acting as industrial materials reinserted into a system outside of the gallery rather than an industrial material acting as an art object. Disseminating the work through systems outside of the gallery allows for it to break the limitations of an art object seen or experienced only within the time and space of a gallery.

 

I am more interested in someone discovering the altered bricks and questioning their existence and purpose rather than the bricks immediately being seen as art. The text added to the bricks converts them into protesters of their own being/use and makes them confront their own cognitive dissonance as a material made for building |walls|.

 

Documentation of Material Cognitive Dissonance

2017