‘Swap Stories’ 2005
[Sketch for a Monument for the USA]
14” x 18”
a project for: Monuments for the USA
April 7-May 14
Curated by Ralph Rugoff
CCA Wattis Institute
for Contemporary Arts
1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco
Monument for the USA (1)
The monument is a vast and extraordinary garden floating on the
sea. This ship has a combined function as both orphanage and meeting
place. To be more exact, the ‘monument’ is the series
of specific relationships that take place within this structure.
Each person (2) in the United States is allocated
(3) a mentor (4) from the floating orphanage.
The ship sails the seas collecting and nurturing the world’s
orphans. Its crew is able to care (5) for them
with love, humour, intelligence and complete fairness.
Every 7 years the US mentoree is flown or floated out to meet their
mentor aboard this ship. In pairs they develop its gardens during
the day. But the primary focus of this monument is a nocturnal activity;
the murmured exchange of stories (6) between one
another as they lie in their cabin bunks at night.
1 Paid for from the profits from the 100 richest
companies in the US. It is a great privilege for them. Therefore
they are allowed no input into the management of the ship nor to
claim any credit for financially supporting it.
2 …regardless of immigration status.
3 …allocated randomly. But by chance it seems
that opposites (personality, appearance etc) seem to regularly coincide.
4 …of approximately the same age, yet acting
as counsellor and sage to the mentoree.
5 These children are welcome to leave the orphanage
whenever they feel they are ready, the ship dropping them off in
the country of their choice. In which case they return to the garden
ship every 7 years to meet the person they are mentoring.
6 …perfectly, unobtrusively and automatically