Humanity-- A Living Installation, 1998-99

"Humanity-A Living Installation" consists of over 2,000 forms grouped in various configurations to present the individual within evolving social structures. I configure the forms to respond to both physical and contextual aspects of the environments in which they are placed. With an infinite number of configurations possible, the work remains fluid and changing in response to a variety of environments.

I place the small scale forms directly on the floor to shift the perspective of the viewer from a personal, one-on-one interaction with the work, to that of a detached observer, gazing down into another world. I utilize reduced scale and placement to reflect the shrinking stature of human beings, from their elevation during the Renaissance, to their inconsequential dimensions of the modern world.

Through the multiplication of form, I strive to transcend the precious nature of "one of a kind" fine art by merging fine art processes with mass production. I encourage collectors to participate in choosing and configuring their own unique groupings as a collaborative means of creative expression.

The forms are metaphors for human beings. They express our physical nature, through the use of similar but unique forms; our spiritual nature, through the mythological "third eye" and our social nature, through the relationships between forms. Overall, I strive to balance formal artistic concerns, humor, and accessibility with the social, philosophical, and spiritual issues that shape humanity.

"Loitering" consists of 900 smooth, organic, sculptural forms. The similar-but-unique forms were configured in a random pattern that filled a gallery's glass-enclosed storefront space. The installation was intended to be viewed from both inside and outside the gallery offering equal access to gallery visitors and the general public. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, under the illumination of gallery lights, the loitering forms were visible to gallery goers and passers-by.

"52 Reactions to a Box" (1998) presents reality as being subjective vs. absolute.

"Time and Place" (1998) The eight computer composites are from my series Humanity-- And How We Got This Way (1998). I create the realistic images by digitally manipulating many different photographs into seamless collages. The digital files are then transferred to clear photographic film and mounted on plexiglass. The complete series consists of twenty-nine images in which smooth, organic Beings move through time, beginning with the Big Bang and ending in the present day. When viewed consecutively, the images form a narrative of many of the significant stages of humanity's evolution.

15 billion BCE: The Big Bang
570 million BCE: Cambrian Era- Diversification of Life
55 million BCE: Evolution from Water
25 million BCE: Enter Forest- Emergence of Primates
2 million BCE: Walking onto Plains
300,000 BCE: Cooperative Hunting
30,000 BCE: Harnessing of Fire
9500 BCE: Agricultural Revolution

"Longitude" (1998) consists of 52 forms surrounding a globe nestled in a pile of old clock parts. Together, the globe and clock parts symbolize the inevitable link between time and place in the physical world. Each form is uniquely warped into physical gestures presenting a multitude of reactions to the seemingly inescapable effects of time and place. The title was inspired by the book "Longitude" by Dava Sobel which tells the true story of how an uneducated clockmaker solved the gravest scientific challenge of his day "The Longitude Problem." While Galileo and Newton mapped the heavens in search of celestial maps to determine longitude at sea, John Harrison dared to imagine a mechanical solution- a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had been able to do on land. Each Being is uniquely warped into a physical gesture of curiosity, confusion, anger or suspicion presenting the multitude of reactions to Harrison's relatively simple "Longitude Solution."

"Rat Race" (1998) consist of partially unzipped forms, which expose electrical cords suggesting the modern-day quest for external fulfillment.

-Devorah Sperber, 1998