Shabamanetica #1 and #2 2017, steel, walnut, UV-cured pigment on aluminum, 98"x90"x48" (each)
Shabamanetica #1 and #2 source images, shot on-location, from Shanghai, Baltimore, and Panama: three places connected anew by the recent expansion of the Panama Canal and dredging of the Port of Baltimore in preparation for the gigantic Neopanamax container ships. Shabamanetica #1 presents a counter-rotating ‘machine’ made of Panama Canal lock-gates, tugs, and ships that suck cargo from Shanghai and spit out an endless supply of poop-emoji pillows that are immediately disposed of by a garbage truck. In Shabamanetica #2, ‘ghosts’ of Baltimore’s lost umbrella industry (long ago Baltimore was the umbrella-manufacturing capital of the world) fly over a landscape of Panama’s highland waterfalls where Shanghai students, growing up in China’s current industrial revolution, play with their parasols.
A man, a plan, a canal, Panama! 2018, UV-cured pigment on polycarbonate, mechanism, strobe; 46"x46"x4"
Wildly undulating Panamanian jungle foliage, shot on-location, surrounds collaged cut-out images from an early 20th Century canal construction documentary. Theodore Roosevelt gestures adamantly, a steam shovel endlessly moves earth, workers from Caribbean Islands march with TNT boxes on their heads and spray oil onto waters surrounding the canal dig in order to control mosquito populations. Dr. Gorgas, the man in charge of eliminating the malarial threat, rocks in a chair, framed by clips from the 1912 film The Mosquito (an early comedic cartoon by American animation pioneer Windsor McCay). Churning steam train wheels and a gleefully waving TR encircle a pre-canal map of the Americas. Global advances in steam power and the discovery of malaria's source helped the Americans succeed where the French had failed three decades earlier. The artwork’s title is a palindrome.