Humanity-- And How We Got This Way

Humanity-A Living Installation consists of over two thousand 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.

A series of computer composites titled Humanity--And How We Got This Way (1998) consists of 29 realistic digital images in which forms move through time, beginning with the Big Bang and ending in the present day Middle East. Each11x14 transparency is mounted on clear plexiglass. The images are hung 6" away from walls so that the light reflecting off the walls functions as a light box. When viewed consecutively, the images form a narrative of many of the significant stages of humanity's evolution. Starting in the year 1750 BCE, the images reflect spiritual, religious and cultural events related to the rise of Judaism and Islam and the split between the two Semite populations. Two historical perspectives on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict over proprietorship of the "Holy Land" emerge. Whose perspective is seen first depends upon which end of the gallery one happens to begin.

The final digital image is physically rendered in a floor installation in which hundreds of forms enact a modern day standoff between Israelis and Palestinians. Differentiated only by their Yarmulkes and Kaffiyehs, the forms are surrounded by a crowd of observers whose gestures range from curiosity and confusion to anger and suspicion, mirroring global knee-jerk reactions and cultural stereotyping.

-Devorah Sperber, 1998