“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I made these serving ladles in the form of an arc on the morning of November 8, 2016, reflecting on the concept of the serving vessel on an election day. On November 9, 2016, it was harder for me to see how the arc of history would bend toward justice in an increasingly divided nation. Referencing the ancient, timeless act of keeping vigil, I made oil lamps to rest inside the serving vessels. What does it mean to keep vigil in a time of uncertainty, cynicism, and division?
Taking these objects out of the traditional gallery space and onto a pedestrian city street invites viewers to participate in the making of the work and to occupy the space it offers for reflection. Over the course of this project, there have been moments when the lamps were difficult to light through the wind and when lamps have been lit by viewers across generations and backgrounds. There was also a moment when I received gifts of Milk Duds and Hot Tamales candies in exchange for the invitation to light a lamp and a moment when a child blew out the flames like candles on a birthday cake. These moments create the work, which is more about the experience of engaging the objects and one another than it is about the objects themselves. In times of change and tumult, a spontaneous community is made. Space is created in which to reflect on the necessity of our participation and the importance of looking one another in the eyes.