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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Forgot to Mention the Piece by Rolon Bert Garner That You've Probably Seen Already

Posted by on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Equality.jpeg
  • Courtesy Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

It's called Equality: a grid of little houses that look like board game pieces made in granite, juxtaposed against a big old bronze house on a hill. But where there's equality here, it looks more like deadening sameness. And the overaching picture—of the big house overlooking all the rest—is of inequality.

The artists, Rolon Bert Garner and Ken Leback, added to the obdurate objects a bunch of words—a plaque with text from de Tocqueville's Democracy in America:

Providence has not created mankind entirely independent or entirely free. It is true that around every man a fatal circle is traced beyond which he cannot pass; but within the wide verge of that circle he is powerful and free; as it is with man, so with communities. The nations of our time cannot prevent the conditions of men from becoming equal, but it depends upon themselves whether the principle of equality is to lead them to servitude or freedom, to knowledge or barbarism, to prosperity or wretchedness.

It's a curious work of art, rock-hard and toy-like but open to many interpretations, perched right there on the tip of Beacon Hill, in Sturgus Park. It went up in 1996 and, this past fall, was the site of a performance called Medium Brown by Jose Bold. Did anybody catch it? I saw Medium Brown from afar but don't know what actually happened. Also, Paul Komada's nearby installation How to Fold an American Flag (scroll down) felt related to Equality, too.

Full interview with the Seattle art veteran Garner, now showing at Virginia Inn, here.

Jose Bold performing Medium Brown at Equality in September.
  • Jose Bold
  • Jose Bold performing Medium Brown at Equality in September.

 

Comments (7) RSS

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Cascadian Bacon 1
"But where there's equality here, it looks more like deadening sameness. And the overarching picture—of the big house overlooking all the rest—is of inequality"

Wow you should be a god damn detective.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 13, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 2
Though I do like this piece, sometimes I have my dog jump over the houses. It is the rare good piece of public art and it makes me glad that i live in Seattle.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 13, 2013 at 11:35 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 3
It looks like Mudede's vision of housing density. Then, when your life is over, you're sealed inside and it become's your tomb..
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM · Report this
DOUG. 4
I always assumed that piece had to do with Japanese internment camps. Did I just make that up myself?
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on February 13, 2013 at 2:23 PM · Report this
5
I always think of Army camps with the officers in the large hut on the hill.
Posted by anonymous657 on February 13, 2013 at 4:06 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 6
Unfortunately, that lower picture reminds me of a veal farm out in Fall City.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 13, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
doloresdaphne 7
The way I interpret it, is that 'equality' was what planners / decision makers / politicans acting on behalf of the masses had in mind when they opened up the land for urban sprawl.

In our attempts to give everyone their own private castle, we have the grim monotony and isolating tombs of suburbia.
Posted by doloresdaphne on February 14, 2013 at 4:45 AM · Report this

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