My young son, who does not know what guns do but understands that to possess one is to intimate power, begs me for toy weaponry. I know what this could mean and do not relent. I am reminded of the relationship between play and destruction – or at least the threat of destruction (danger, death) – from boyhood on up. These creations, our zeppelins and our Glocks and our Pentagon and our drones, have been designed to reflect our natural world and behave as extensions of our own bodies. In this way these works are not intended to be visual puns but rather to point to existing systems of design and recognition, reminders at the way that we play at power by rationalizing our killing machines as innate and fundamental extensions of our (white, male) bodies.
The attending language works, drawn from newspaper headline cut-outs that I have been collecting since May of 2016, assume a similar structural (partial, elusive) arrangement. Carefully selected from a set of thousands, these text-objects – of, to – becomes continually rearrange meaning in relation to one another, with particular sensitivity to the actors and those who are being acted upon. Their reference points slip away, mattering less than their newfound togetherness, in which tentative poems arise.
-Luke Stettner, November 27, 2020
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