Barnes Pond, 2014, black & white photo, 15 x 10 cm
More photos coming soon.
Mantra, 2007, audio CD, 1.2 hours
I was listening to some music and was immediately taken with this refrain: “If you don’t want, you don’t have to get in trouble.” It was a sudden revelation for me because it seemed like the perfect simple answer to a multitude of annoying, intractable behavioral problems. If I don’t want to, I don’t really have to do all the bad and stupid things I normally do. If I don’t want to, I don’t have to get completely drunk and insult all my friends. If I don’t want to, I don’t have to make my boss angry and get fired from yet another job. If I don’t want to, I don’t have to sleep with my best friend’s husband or eat an entire chocolate cake in one sitting.
I couldn’t get the sentence out of my mind because it seemed like the perfect self-empowering statement coming several decades before “self-help” would become so ubiquitous. Good-bye to years of analysis – I just have to make the decision not to do bad things. As I realized I would need to be repeatedly reminded of this surprising freedom of choice, I thought I should use the phrase as a mantra. A mantra needs to be repeated, so I took all the times this line was sung and looped them for the length of a CD. Since the musicians’ rhythm is perfect, the samples came together seamlessly and seem to go on endlessly, becoming what I think is the perfect mantra.