Plaster, Wood, tool dip, 2015
The Middle Finger Project consists of performative sculptures that function as gestural artifacts. These performative tools draw attention to the arbitrariness of the sign, and to the ways in which meaning is constantly being performed and re-perormed. Riffing on Heidegger’s concepts of "tool being", “ready-to-hand,” and “present-at-hand," they draw attention to how we use language as though it were a tool, reaching for it reflexively as we would a hammer. The hammer (i.e., language, the sign) is transparent in the hammering. Once it is broken, it becomes “present at hand”: that is, we notice the sign itself rather than its function - precisely because it no longer works.
Middle Finger is a collaboration with Ted Toadvine, Philosophy, Director of the Rock Ethics Institute, Penn State.