'The most static object is still in motion at a molecular level and the world is always changing. Even if the object was this perfect thing that stayed the same, we as a society change how we view it. My installations are about destruction and creation, and they generally have no static point. It is the process of changing them that is the point." —Johnathan Schipper
Schipper has created a mechanical installation at Rice Gallery that represents an office cubicle. Walking by Rice Gallery and quickly glancing through its front glass wall, it might be easy to mistake it for a functioning office space. A grid of fluorescent lights hangs from the ceiling and cubicles line the perimeter of the gallery, surrounding a conference table and copy machine. Each workstation is full of the all-too-familiar trappings—boxy Dell computers, stacks of manila file folders, and personal ephemera pinned to cubicle walls, such as family photos and motivational messages. Far from the pristine, paperless ideal of the digital age, Rolodexes, adding machines, zip drives, and other dated technology litter the desktops. A dense web of cables interrupts the placid scene and is the first clue that this is not a normal workplace.
The lines connect nearly every item in the office to a mechanical winch hidden behind a wall in the gallery's back corner. The machine continuously pulls the objects and furniture at an extremely slow speed toward a small hole in the wall and eventual collapse.
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