Several Circles is a dual-channel video installation that explores the “revolutions” that link the 19th century riverboat steam engine with the 20th century internal combustion engine. Reflecting writer Mark Twain’s famed quote, “The past does not repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes,” the project articulates a meandering relationship between shared forms of rotary-driven mechanical power that bookend a hundred year arc of American industry.
This project forms a narrative that begins approximately with the emergence of steam-power, and continues speculatively with its transformation. Several Circles similarly addresses a shift from celluloid film based cinematic production, to one that is increasingly dominated by digital video; the triumph of the microchip over mechanical production and presentation. Further drawing a relationship between the movement of bodies to the movement of machines, the work is also set to a soundtrack of Detroit techno, a musical form that emerged with the advent of drum machines in the 1980s during a period that roughly corresponds with the slow decline of the city’s automobile industry and labor force.
Several Circles is a special commission by the Or Gallery made possible with the generous financial support of Arts Partners in Creative Development.