Uncle Shawn (2017)
-push reel lawn mower, wood, fake turf, metal, and tablet - $64
Uncle Shawn is an interactive installation that provides the viewer with a push reel lawn mower on a pedestal of fake turf. A screen plays a video of the same lawn mower actually participating in mowing a lawn. The viewer is invited to push the lawn mower while watching the video partaking in the absurd task of mowing fake turf, while being exposed to the actual function of the object. The viewer becomes the worker.
The audio is a phone interview with my uncle Shawn who is a lawn maintenance worker for the public school system. He never graduated with his GED, but is spending his life and career as a maintenance worker for a system that initially failed him. The audio also includes the lawn mower making sounds which renders his voice useless to the work and task at hand. This idea adds to the invisibility of maintenance workers and their work being unnoticed.