One of the first remarks I hear when I describe this installation to
people is Oh, thats insidious. Its cool but its
The intention of Convergence is to invoke a spiritual space
but not the sanitized spirituality often referred to in this genre
of art. If one looks closely at African, Native American, or Aboriginal
spirtuality, there is a sense that the spiritual world is all around,
yes, and all humans, animals, and plants coexist on an equal plane, but
all things are not holding hands and singing Kum Ba Ya. There
are spirits you can trust and there are spirits who will trick you if
they get the chance.
So these two aspects connect nicely with the ways we interact with technology:
on hand, all things spiritual, organic, and technological are not opposed
to each other, they coexist. On the other hand, technology can be a trickster
-- it is not to be blindly trusted.
I chose the Yoruba spirit Eshu, guardian of the crossroads to appear in
this installation for a number of reasons. First, because he is a trickster
god himself; and second, because the Yoruba, based in what is now western
Nigeria, were a culture that placed high value on craftsmanship of all
kinds, in other words, technology.
In his seminal book Flash of the Spirit, Robert Farris Thompson describes
the importance of Eshu in ways that resonate powerfully with this installation.
...one must cultivate the art of recognizing significant
communications, knowing what is truth and what is falsehood, or else the
lessons of the crossroads the point where doors open and close,
where persons have to make decisions that will affect their lives forever
after are lost.
Eshu consequently came to be regarded as the embodiment of the crossroads...
he sometimes even wears the crossroads as a cap, colored black
on one side, red on the other, provoking in his wake foolish arguments
about whether his cap is black or red, wittily insisting by implication
that we view a person or a thing from all sides vefore we form a general
This above description invites obvious parallels to technology and its
effect on our culture. We are at a crossroads, making decisions that can
transform our lives forever. This installation insists we take the time
to view this force from a range of perspectives before making a judgment
on what is natural or spiritual and what is not.
A couple of notes: The crimson feather that appears in the installation
is the symbol of Eshus power of potentiality; when not in view of
white strangers, Afro-Cuban men and women pour cool water at crossroads
in honor of Eshu. Thats another reason for the centrality of the
cool waterfall in this installation.