The Tables (2007 - 08)

With Susan Working

As a guest artist at Anderson Ranch Art Center, I collaborated with woodworker and furniture artist Susan Working in creating these two time-based tables. In each, the unlikely marriage of woodcraft and video forms a table that isn’t quite a table. One tilts and leans and moves, its perspective skewed like a mystery spot structure; the other is animated by surface projection. We chose this archetypal furniture form to suggest systems of relationship both embedded in the physical object and projected onto it by social need. A table comes into the world through a complex set of material processes: gathering, labor, transport and fabrication, to name a few. But its functional lineage also requires a social imagination, the needs we project onto an object, the ways our bodies, minds and emotions interact with it. Neither matter nor meaning is stable; ephemeral and solid, light and opaque, still and moving form uneasy questions about the life and memory of each object, these tables that aren’t quite tables.

tables 1 table 2  

Table I: Murmur (2007-8), exquisitely crafted from cherry wood, has two video windows in the top surface that show moving tree trunks that appear to roll down the table top, straight and regular and constant, yet never escaping the boundaries of wood or screen.

Tables 2 table 2 closeup table2  

In Table II: Discourse (2007-8), video is projected from above onto the pristine surface, showing clusters of people eating a ritualized meal. The camera view is from below, a kind of subterranean voyeurism beneath the surface of these social vignettes.


2012  The New Materiality, Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC
2012  Into the Trees, Institut Franco-Americain, Rennes, France
2012  The New Materiality, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
2010  Geographies Personnelles/Personal Geographies, Centre International d’Art Contemporain, Pont-Avon, France
2010  The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at The Boundaries of Contemporary Craft, Fuller Museum of Craft, curator For    Wilson, Brockton, MA
2010  Infix: The Grammar of Insertion, SF Museum of Modern Art Gallery, SF, CA
2008  Table II Discourse, SFCamerawork video event, San Franciscio, CA
2007  Flash Flood International Video Festival, Phoenix, AZ