wicked engine of connected desire

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I stopped into The Lab the other night to see a fellow JFKU alumni’s opening. Corey Hitchcock’s installation is fun and crazy and inspiring, and it is deeper than it first appears.

At first glance I felt I was in a giant version of the childhood game, “Mouse Trap”. Those of you of my generation may remember that game in which players carefully put together many small plastic pieces and then a crank is turned which rotates gears, a marble which rolls down a little staircase, and it ramps and rubber bands a diving man, and ends in a mouse trap.

There are many differences from that game though. First off this art installation is larger than life size which immediately made me want to run around and play in it all. Things are turning on their own, videos of talking heads are twirling above, there are opportunities to interact. The artist is still constructing the piece and there are all kinds of drawings and materials in piles so one feels as if it is changing before one’s eyes and the installation could different by tomorrow.

The other thing I really loved about it is that it is all made out of found and recycled materials. Who knew you could make something so awesome and outrageous with trash?

And, there is a purpose to this invention, it is not just a playland. The Wicked Engine of Connected Desire is “an unsurpassed antidote for chronic disconnection”. Corey writes, “The Wicked Machine desires the pleasure of your company as it activates to take on the forces of disconnection, fueled by your own observations of this most uncivil malady. Expect the unexpected as you are guided to alleviate its effects by interacting with the Wicked Engine and its dedicated assistants.”

I remember when I had a class with Corey at JFKU and she spoke about intention in her art, about if she believed she could build something that could change things, than why wouldn’t it work? So I did interact with her engine this night. I wrote about an incident that had occurred before I got there. I saw a homeless man out my car window and a feeling of disgust came over me and I made a not so nice comment. Writing about this moment of disconnection with my fellow human being helped me realize my lack of empathy and automatic way of seeing and that I can chose to react differently.

September 14 and 15, 7:30pm, there will be closing performances with the Wicked Engine – I’m sure it will be worth seeing. The Lab, 2948 16th St @ Capp St, SF.

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