SOMETHING IN THE GARDEN,1979
35 x 21 in
One of my machines resides in our local public library, where it is encountered by children every day. Although it is sensitive to temperature and light and changes over a long period oftime, it does not react to a viewer in any obvious way. One element of its composition is a bright flash of light which was supposed to happen randomly at intervals of about twenty hours. One day a friend of my seven-year-old son came into my shop and said, "Oh, you're the guy that built the thing at the library!" -and proceeded to tell me that all the children were able to make the thing flash by dragging their feet across the carpet and touching a metal component on the face of it. They have made the machine responsive. I would have predicted that the small but high voltage discharge from the static spark would have stressed the electronics to the point of destruction, but it has been going on for years without that consequence. There is, however, a slight show of wear and patina on the place where the little pilgrims have been touching it, which reminds me of the erosion of the foot of Michelangelo's Pieta resulting from the kisses of the faithful.
(from a 1987 catalog of an exhibit at Redmann Galerie, Berlin, ISBN:3-925568-10-7)
Several years after this was written, we built a new library. The carpeting didn't make sparks, and the kids ripped the machine to shreds within a year.