The Thin Blue Line
(A Romance in Lower Mathematics)
Site-specific temporary installation for the 24th Drawing Show: Feelers @ the Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts, curated by Susan Metrican, Oct - Dec 2015
The Thin Blue Line (A Romance in Lower Mathematics) takes its inspiration from a segment in the film The Dot and the Line, a short animation describing this romance of geometries, which was itself inspired by the iconic Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. My interests lie in the former film’s various depictions of the line as a symbol of power. The most striking of these is perhaps the vision entitled: "The Line As A Fearless Law Enforcement Agent" –in which a thin blue line is seen paternalistically transecting the middle of an unidentified city street. As if with no regard for shapes other than its own, the blue line rigidly maintains its penetrative path bisecting traffic and passing swiftly through passengers and vehicles alike.
For me, this scene is emblematic of that other Thin Blue Line, the symbol used by police forces in North America and their supporters as a sign of unyielding loyalty. The symbol’s aesthetics, a bright blue bar traversing a black expanse that supposedly represents the citizenry and criminality indistinctly, for me are descriptive of the way uncritical support for police nationwide has gone hand in hand with a desire to condemn our black population. Users of the symbol see police officers as literally surrounded by a terrifying sea of blackness––criminality and innocence indistinguishable––hence, cops' actions are seen as defensible, and necessary.
I’m interested in taking these ideas and creating a site-specific installation that permeates the environment of the 24th Drawing Show, a clearly visible reminder of the entangled realities of mathematics and oppression, logic and systematic violence, geometry and hate. In considering the show’s thematic concept of "Feelers", I would like to propose an architectural intervention that not only evokes these visuals of lines of power, but also subtly, some very tangible instances of policial abuse of power involving hands: the stop and frisk, unnecessary force, non-consensual bodily violations, etc.
The aesthetic design of the hands, borrowed from the invisible appendage-weapons of the Japanese anime Elfen Lied and the murderous, chalky imprint unconsciously worn by the main character in Fritz Lang's classic noir film M, contribute to an eerie feeling of the exhibition space actually closing in on viewers––assailed by non-human limbs recklessly, even violently, feeling up the space.