THE SOUND OF STONES IN THE GLASS HOUSE
An exhibition by Christian Brett in collaboration with Gee Vaucher
This exhibition is staged as a response to the events of September 11th, 2001 and the ensuing global aftermath. It is not an exhibition concerning the victims of war, but a study of those who most profit by the creation of war. It advances the idea that those leading the ‘war on terror’ are in fact the perpetrators and benefactors of it, namely the United States Government and those who fund and support it. In short, the exhibition is an examination and dissection of American imperialism, American state-funded terrorism and US corporate gain within the pantomime euphemistically known as ‘the theatre of war’.
Deeply etched into the ice-cold, plate-glass conceits of the White House’s Oval Office are the place-names of the innumerable instances of global intervention by the US military: a great and glorious history to those who best profit by it. However, whereas the President’s offices might choose to present its conflicts with pride, the rest of planet increasingly looks on with shame. It is this shame which is at the core of ‘The Sound Of Stones In The Glass House’.
As an ironic comment on the transparency of the conceits of the American Presidency, the centre-piece of the exhibition is Christian Brett’s installation of a glass house, the opaque glass of each pane having been etched and inscribed with a list of US military interventions made over the last one-hundred years. By making opaque what is naturally transparent, the glass house provides a metaphor for the extent to which the truth of war is obscured and corrupted.
Gee Vaucher’s collaboration in the exhibition is in concentrating on the origins of the United States as expressed in the proclamations of its founding fathers, notably Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and how their idealistic aspirations have been so consistently used and abused by successive Presidents. It is hoped that the documentation of these ideological contortions might offer some insight into the self-righteous driving-force behind America’s often pitted history, and into its double-standards, double-speak and, more pertinently, into its determinedly blinkered definitions of global terrorism.
Starting with the words of Washington and Lincoln, whose dreams of a ‘nation of nations’ were central to the newly formed United States, the exhibition traces the corruption of those dreams by twentieth-century Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to George Bush. Also included in the exhibition is a list of countries where the American Presidency has intervened either overtly, covertly or though the offices of the CIA, culminating with a figure which estimates the number of deaths caused by those interventions.
On an interactive level, as an act of remembrance, each one of those millions of deaths is represented in the exhibition by a mixture of meadow seeds which you are invited to take from their containers and cast into the glass house where they will be tended, grown and later transplanted to open land: a rebirth.
On the first night of the exhibition, white balloons will be released into the air, each one carrying an envelope containing seeds and a message of conciliation and hope to those across the planet who live in fear and dread of President George Bush’s proclamation that ‘America will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right and true and unchanging for people everywhere’.
It is this appalling arrogance which ‘The Sound Of Stones In The Glass House’ seeks both to expose and to contradict.
6th – 29th October 2006
96 Gillespie 96 Gillespie Road, London N5 1LN