Installation with Security blanket (troubleweed), 2015, installation, Bolsky Gallery, Los Angeles, California, traveling object. Materials: Photographic print on bathing towel (troubleweed), wooden monkey, dried roses, clear plexi, twine, golden clamps, cotton bags of salt labeled “take me.” A few left with visitors to the exhibition.
The installation explores symbolic and literal functions of narrative. Symbolic objects specifically arranged to materialise ideas, or cognitive “things”: Boundary, Grief, Security, Transparency, and Choice.
Troubleweed (photographic print on bathing towel) was sent via USPS & photographed by artists, continuing the installations thematic elements: Trust, Transparency, Choice, Cooperation, Resource. The tumbleweed, as an associated symbol of the western desert, found its way into the Los Angeles River during a drought. During a time of environmental drought, the representation of a prickly ball on a soft surface continued to travel across the United States, depicted by artists in their location and within the relationship of their praxis of art and ways of living.
The traveling Troubleweed bathing towel looks at the question: Can an inanimate object traveling through space and time, via the interdependent wills of artists offer insight into the values which constitute a nation?
After the installation transformed into an ongoing body of work, the archive became an accumulation of bodies of labor, in the time of the internet, where communication and the quality of sincerity is questioned to exist and critiqued as sentimental. The travel archive and final resting place of the work, extends the original metaphor and metaphysical propositions of the original installation.
There were no time constraints on the project. The premise of not having a time constraint looks at the line or levy of personal will. The USPS, once carried by horse and now by horse power and machine sorting assistants, still require the human as critical points within a functional system. The project works as an aggregate of an experiment. At each destination, the towel encounters photographic documentation. The act of imaging as a personal motive and labor are made as free choice.
As much as records provide proof, the archive seeks to underline the existence of motives rooted in: care, play, trust, and free-will, within systems of commodity and capital. Connecting people across Time (zones) and Space (geography), factors often considered to destroy human bonds, the Troubleweed bathing towel project reveal the peculiar value ascribed to an inanimate object is not in the object itself, but in the intangible values that constitute its traverse through Space and Time. As Douglas Adams once described in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: a towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.
In 2020 the Troubleweed bathing towel, hitchhiked through the labors of artists, found its resting place in Santa Rosa, California, where the towel found a home. Alas the story inevitably continues, though outside the parameters of surveillance the record of archives the traveling component of this work imposed.
Original film image of an Ojai tumbleweed in the Los Angeles River at Culver City.
Troubleweed bathing towel photographed as hypothetical bathing towel at Bygdøy, Oslo, Norway, 2016.
Troubleweed bathing towel by Stephanie Larson, Fort Myers, Florida, 2017. @wellspringwonder
Troubleweed bathing towel by Christina Song, Chicago, Illinois, 2017. @softycreamy
Troubleweed bathing towel by Justine Genevieve Bianco, Palo Alto, 2017.
FINAL RESTING PLACE Troubleweed bathing towel by artist Peter Alan, Santa Rosa, California, 2020.