Drew Heller: Power Wall

Drew Heller

University/firm name Rice University
Instagram username @drooheller

Power Wall

Description of project: “Artwork is no longer to be consumed within a ‘monumental’ time frame, open for a universal public; rather, it elapses with factual time, for an audience ‘summoned’ by the artist” - Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics. The monument has been reborn in contingent form. The historical event no longer exists within universal memory, rather memory is recycled, distorted and produced through transient presents. Public, once a solid, is now liquid and relational. Considering collective identity as relational attaches its production to the friction of bodies. Any two corporeal entities, physical and virtual, vibrate and produce a public. Public becomes a volatile condition situated between many bodies. Power wall grounds them, acting as a tactile production of a public image through participatory events within a collective frame. Mechanical events trigger the production of building and media content - engaging with the known scale of the body and moving toward the unknown scale of a network. Each event is descriptive - they elicit response but don't prescribe a single activity allowing the public to invent new forms of use. Power wall is an anti-monument. Its reception is destabilized by allowing participatory users to appropriate its face. Both the ‘real’ and its digital doppelgänger are simultaneously broadcasted. The collection of bodies inverts the relationship of the civic monument to its subject population. The civic monument is now subject to its users who choose to plug in. A public is formed and then it disappears.