EXHIBITIONS > Phillips Collection, Washington DC
one billion breaths in a lifetime (2015)
polished chrome, 3 x 16 feet
The sculpture is of polished chrome, at eye level, and close to the sidewalk so that as you walk by your reflection moves and so does that of the environment with relation to you. The light there is really active because it's filtered through the foliage so sometimes parts of the text disappear and then reappear. Your movements animate this text about corporeal motion, embodiment, and time. The scale of the sculpture and your ability to interact with it has meaning on several levels. It is a celebration of life, enjoyable to experience, and an intriguing calculation, but also the number one billion -- commonly used by governments and corporations to describe huge quantities of money and goods that only they are capable of handling -- is a signifier of entitlement and power. The discovery is that this number also has a human scale. We are capable of living it. Even so it remains a number of privilege. In Western culture we are enjoying an age of longevity. It is a severe juxtaposition to the many parts of the world in which lives are cut short by awful living conditions, disease, war, famine. Still, not far from here is Arlington National Cemetery.