Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lecture: Matt Kenyon - February 18, 2016 at 5:30 PM


The works of Matt Kenyon were an excellent demonstration of what a creative mind can execute, if you really put your mind to it. Kenyon illustrated the thought process as well as the actual processes that went behind his works, which were both intriguing and informing. His works were interesting, because although they were fun to look at and entertaining, they addressed topics that one most likely would not catch on the surface.

His work, “Giant Pool of Money” was an excellent visual representation of the wage gap issue in America. The idea was inspired by the typical pyramid of wine glasses used at special events, where one would start pouring champagne or wine at the top of the pyramid and the liquid would “trickle down” to the bottom glasses in the structure. This “trickle down” effect is mirrored in socioeconomics, where the liquid is money and it “trickles down” to the less wealthy or by working your way up the financial ladder. Kenyon created a piece that was the equivalent of the pyramid of wine glasses, however the liquid is a mercury-like substance that essentially represents the wealth in America. The piece is interactive as well, requiring a person to put money through a machine, which drags it up a conveyer belt and eventually melts into the top wine glass. As more money is given to the machine, the liquid starts slowly filling the top glass, partially spilling into the second level of glasses holding the top glass.
Another idea Kenyon came up with was executing the use of micro printed text to incorporate the names of Iraqi civilians killed in the war onto a pad of paper. This was an idea he came up with to illuminate the destructive capabilities of war and how many of us may take our privileges as Americans for granted. The names are printed so small, that they themselves are the lines on a pad of paper. Each pad consists of 50 sheets of paper, and include the details of the many thousands of Iraqi civilians that have been killed since the war began. Acting as a “trojan horse”, the sheets of paper have been successfully circulating throughout the white house.

This lecture was incredibly interesting, and the works of Kenyon are great examples of relevant issues being turned into art. Throughout history, art is what persists and allows us to think deeply about socio-economic and/or political issues. I would love to get a chance to see more of Kenyon’s work up-close and I would definitely recommend seeing Kenyon speak to anyone.