PACE 2012, HD Video, 2:25 loop
Andrew Ellis Johnson and Susanne Slavick, HD Video, 5:38 loop
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In PACE, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Washington Monument superimpose and swing back and forth like an upside-down metronome, in tense relationship to one another and unstable in their power. The sound bounces between speakers, combining an invented “ticking” with the whirring of an oscillating fan that blows from left to right as the structures rock. The erratic rhythm echoes the fluctuating pace of change -- of regimes, institutions and mindsets. The balance has not been struck.
Pyramidal forms and all-seeing eyes occur in art across time including Man Ray’s Object to be Destroyed, later reconstructed and retitled Indestructible Object. Before the 2011 Revolution, Egypt was the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel, so connections between the two countries are more than symbolic. Questions arise after every revolution: Will tyranny persist or dissolve altogether? Is the people’s will (in any country) to be destroyed or indestructible?
On PACE's references:
Man Ray’s Indestructible Object resembles an obelisk. It was originally made in 1923 and titled Object to be Destroyed. It consists of a wooden metronome with a photograph of his former lover’s eye attached to the pendulum that can beat insistently and infinitely, like human desire. In 1933, the artist destroyed the original, producing and re-titling the work in an edition of 100, asserting that ‘it would be very difficult to destroy all hundred.’
The female eye in Man Ray’s piece might function as the omnipotent eye that is discussed in Sigmund Freud’s essay The Uncanny where it is associated with anxiety and fear of an external power that we rarely regard as benign. Another omnipotent eye, the Eye of Providence, crowns a pyramid in the Great Seal of the United States, printed on the U.S. dollar bill; its source can be traced to the Egyptian Eye of Horus.