The Great Learning
Norsk Skulpturbiennale, Vigeland-Museet, Oslo, Curated by Steffen Håndlykken, 2017
Mana Contemporary, New Jersey, Theorem. You Simply Destroy the Image I Always Had Of Myself , Curated by Octavio Zaya, 2015
A copper rod stands completely vertical in the exhibition space. It is held in its position by a series of thin microfilament strings that stretch geometrically to several points in the ceiling and connect to industrial weights that lay on the ground. One of these weights is held down, by a simple attachment, to a rock. When the attachment is manually released, the weights begin to give way and the copper rod falls slowly. The fall takes approximately 15 minutes, and it is the result of a meticulous balance between the weights on the ground, the weights hanging from the strings at ceiling level, the friction on the string, and the weight of the rod itself.
The Great Learning is the name of one of the main books in Confucianism. It includes reflections on education and a sense of being rooted. In the 1970s the British composer Cornelius Cardew wrote an ensemble piece also called The Great Learning, based on the Confucian texts. This work fostered states of collectivity as a means for producing music. In “Paragraph 7”, for instance, singers borrow their singing pitch from another singer in the group, generating a slowly evolving gravity towards an un-prescribed unison.
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