Media Shower (Pardon Me)

Site-specific installation and performance commissioned for the Emerge show
organized by GenArt, Novemeber 4th - 19th, 2006

The Warfield Building
988 Market Street
San Francisco, CA

click to view:

View of installation from Market Street

is an anual show organized by GenArt to showcase emerging artists in San Francisco. This year’s show is in the Warfield Building on Market Street at 6th. The Building used to be the headquarter for the San Francisco Examiner newspaper (started by the Hearst family.) For the show, I made a site-specific installation. The piece explores the architectural characteristics of the site; as well as use the highly mediated story of Patty Hearst’s Involvement with the Simionese Liberation Army as a jumping off point to situate itself in the current nationalistic politics and the rhetoric of terrorism.

The piece has three components.

The main installation consists of four large red boxes that agressively protrude through the windows on the fourth floor. From each of these red boxes, paper strips of the size 1.25"x4.25" fall in clusters every once in a while, winding their way down to the Market Street. The passersby could catch these papers. On the papers are printed "Pardon Me". On the other side however, are images from Patty Hearst's Bank Robbery case, as well as reprints from the Examiner's coverage of the current war on Terrorism including the War in Iraq and the 9/11.

Click HERE to see a video of the paper strips falling.

Sample paper strips:

click to view:

Front of the paper strip.

The second component of the piece includes an original letter written to Hearst's family in 1974 expressing sympathy about Patty Hearst's encounter with the SLA. With the letter is a song written for the occasion. Next to the letter, two speakers broadcast the same song repeatedly sung by a female voice (Katrina Lamb) in a sentimental way. The lyrics include phrases such as "Patty oh Patty, please don't stay, please don't stay, with the SLA." "You're one of us." Click here to hear the song.

The third component of the piece is a live performance carried out during the opening. During the performance, the song was playing continuously. I burst through the door wearing a mask that revealed only the mouth and carring a pneumatic nailgun. I yelled some gibberish in an aggressive way. The tone of the yelling was reminiscent of harsh words in a conglomeration of several languages like German, English, Arabic, Farsi and Chinese. I held the gun to the audience and at times to an inanimate object while yelling the gibberish. After I made the round, I approached a wall and started to nail the paper strips to the wall with the nailgun. The nails are huge and pierced through the thin paper yet part of them remained outside the wall. The nailing was accompanied by loud popping noise. The performance ended when all the papers were used up, leaving the paper strips nailed to the wall, formulating a random pattern of red/white/blue.

click to view: