THE STAR SYSTEM
The Brooklyn Army Terminal Piece
12 feet x 30 feet x 30 feet
painted bamboo, welded steel, manila rope
Currently in the collection of the Artist
The Star System (initially entitled Terminal Piece) was constructed, and installed at the Brooklyn Army Terminal - a huge World War I era arms depot with an internal courtyard built to enable the loading of military equipment into railroad cars.
It has since been exhibited at The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, N.C. (1991) and the Exploratorium in San Francisco (1994).
The Star System is a giant clockwork mechanism driven by a falling weight. After a viewer pulls the driving weight into position, the piece unwinds for several minutes. As the bundle descends, long bamboo spokes crash against each other until the weight rests upon the ground.
"...[The Star System] is a sculpture of precariously hanging wooden spikes manipulated by ropes from below."- Annie Nakao, The San Francisco Examiner.
"To activate this piece, you pull on a rope suspended near the center of the Main Gallery and connected - by a series of pulleys attached to the ceiling - to a bundle of bamboo sticks resting on the floor at one end of the gallery.
Having thus raised the bundle to its upper limit, you release the rope and watch the bundle as its very slowly lowered back to the floor by way of a complicated, ceiling-mounted device composed primarily of large vertical and horizontal bamboo wheels.
This bizarre mechanism brings to mind the myth of Sisyphus, who was condemned to spend eternity alternately rolling a stone to the top of a hill and watching it roll back down again."- Tom Patterson, The Winston-Salem Journal.