Dawn DeDeaux / Martini Time at the Space Ship / Self-portrait, 2014
MOTHERSHIP I / MotherShip I offered postulations of the future, presenting both ancient mythologies that predict the end of time and today's mathematical and scientific equations that calculate a future not so dissimilar from myth.
One outcome of examining past prophecies is MotherShip I's centerpiece - a life-size pale, aluminum horse (first installed on a ledge 20’ above the gallery floor). The horse gazes into his self-reflection, rendered within a slab of polished acrylic suspended with cables just above the floor. In early recorded histories, such a white or pale horse is referenced in a sweeping diversity of cultures as a symbol marking the future or the end of time - including Babylonian, Persian, Hindu, Saxon, Asian, Slavic, Native American and Biblical texts (for example within the ‘Book of Revelations') to cite a few. It is often a signifier of triumph over evil, even amidst mankind's predicted annihilation.
Other components include apocalyptic landscape drawings rendered on steel panels; sculptures of tall ladders, made from either charred wood or transparent material embedded with ancient text; a 30’ DNA strand of bolted chairs spiraling and spinning; free-falling suitcases of mass destruction; and the introduction of the MotherShip vessel - both as a rusty primal orb, in truss rings and in digital works that pay homage to the Zeppelins airships that remain the largest airships ever constructed. The documents presenting the Zeppelin assembly include images of the tallest known ladders. These ladders remain a constant motif throughout the series, referencing both construction and escape.
In defining MotherShip, it is first synonymous with Earth; and failing Earth MotherShip is the constructed vessel to transport man to spheres beyond. Offered progressively MotherShip evolves from a 'place' to an imagined 'form'. To begin the process of form, the start is the first truss ring that also signifies the odd marriage of man and machine. - a merger that both destroys the past and defines a future.
MOTHERSHIP II: DREAMING OF A FUTURE PAST
MotherShip II: Dreaming of a Future Past expanded the characterization of mankind in an imagined post-earth world reflected mainly through the portrayals of varied Explorers and First Responders. Portraitures present the protagonist-explorers in exceeding floral-patterned hazmat and space suits, colorful curvilinear patterns belonging to our place of origin, a place called Earth. It is imagined that even the most manly men now wear their flower suits like a badge of honor, a symbol of identity. Breaking with tradition, the suits are like FLAGS absent of straight lines. MotherShip II conveys this new alienation in comic, nostalgic ways: It's a new tale of Paradise Lost.
MOTHERSHIP III: THE STATION / work in progress
MotherShip III was presented at two sites in New Orleans throughout Prospect 3 Biennial. The first site at Tulane University School of Public Health offered a small selection of works from MotherShip I and II; and the second site, an outdoor ruin owned by patron Julian Mutter, presented a work-in-progress version of MotherShip III: The Station and introduced new series including The Launch and Souvenirs of Earth. The starting point for all these works was that earth was finally depleted of all sustainable resources, forcing a mass evacuation from earth. The new works posed questions: Who gets a seat on the (air) bus? Who gets left behind? What do you take with you in the one small bag allowed?
THE SEARCH FOR UTOPIA
Aspects of MotherShip III examine utopian longings. Starting with 18th and 19th century social experiments, the exhibition considers utopian fantasy birthed in social strife, particularly belonging to the recent civil rights movement. Bubbling to the top are the cult sci-fi films of late musician and cosmic philosopher Sun-Ra and George Clinton's MotherShip-Funk machine - each birthed in a longing for a new promised land, beyond earth, where justice and equal opportunity will prevail for all.