Monuments give symbolic expression to larger cultural, political, or historic movements. They leave a record, a built archive. The scale of the mausoleum, obelisk, or statue speaks of power and dominion. Financial power determines political power even as it grows more center-less, unattached to place, “hyper-abstract.” Monuments are superfluous now that power’s dominion is Everywhere and Nowhere.
The proposed public works, Monuments to the Failed Future, are phantasmagorical, bloated, and irrational. These monuments are taken out of the built environment and are placed into the space of a mythic America. The chosen sites are accessible only through dreams. These landscapes reflect a psychic terrain of inarticulate loneliness and a regressive form of freedom.
The dream of addiction and recovery rises above the trees.
Tatlin’s Model for a Monument to the Third International, 1920, was the first monument to declare itself “to the future!” Political desire was reflected in Constructivist designs: “every object, created by artists today, must enter into life as an active force, organizing man’s consciousness, acting on him psychologically, and generating within him an upsurge of energy.” (A. Vesnin, Kredo, 1922)
Capitalism also once promoted a political ideology of abundance for all, “a chicken in every pot,” well-being for the masses. But corporate personhood and unregulated profit-machines destroyed that promise as much as the Soviet party systems did in consolidating power and privilege for the few.
Today, the pace of our lives are ever-accelerating, having moved from industrial to cognitive labor. We are self-proclamation machines broadcasting through social branding and networking. Our fifteen minutes have withered to bytes. This rapid acceleration is progressing at an ever quickening pace leaving no time for dreams, contemplation, or reasonable doubt. Emotion has taken over all aspects of our public lives. In turn, we suffer from panic attacks, attention deficit disorders, depression, and burn-out. Pharmacology offers the only solution.
The Monument to the Triumph of Illusion over Reality is in its first stage. The model is in flux and mutable. But what can be said now is, it wants to relieve you of your depression and anxiety. Unaggressive, it’s emotionally absorbent, energy dispersing, and soft. Made of used t-shirts, it is worn enough to be comfortable, anxiety over choice is eliminated. Undemanding, it exists to soothe and comfort.
A sign given emotional weight by the scale and depth of the upholstered text, layered in golden debris. Some golden chunks will have detached and landed along the base of the structure. A hole on the top right needs repair.
It is unwieldy and heavy, kept upright by archaic, rickety engineering. Sandbags will keep the entire wobbly apparatus from falling face down. The emotional and physical are interchangeable.