The Corporate Soul Cage

7 January 2009 at 11:25 am 3 comments

office_assemI just finished this assemblage this week and entered it into a local art exhibit.  I had asked some of my cyberbuddies for help in choosing which views of it to send, and got many questions.  I also opened quite a few wounds regarding corporate hell for my Freethinkers team.  I swear the status quo has hatched a conspiracy of some sort to keep people who study liberal arts in office captivity . . . if they want health benefits and a paycheck.  When I’m queen, everyone is going to do what they are meant to be doing each day and earn a fair wage for it.  And, of course, there will be health care for all!  Office

I made my first boxes out of basswood and balsa wood and decided I preferred the sturdiness of these drawers from the local Habitat for Humanity store.  I copied some money I had lying around (ha ha) to wallpaper the inside and to cover the trees and figures I made from polymer clay.  I found the little copper birds in a jewelry-maker friend’s junk collection — one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure.   The birds are fixed at intervals to monofilament which is threaded thru holes I drilled in the top of the box.  The monofilament ends are tied to two thin plastic straws which rest on top of the box, looking rather zen-like against the black paper on the top.  The grooves on the sides of the box are hidden by bamboo from my daughter’s yard, which I split with my trusty dremel.   

The mysterious words are written on these wonderful metallic paper decals I found at The Scrap Exchange in Durham.  The writing is intended to look harsh and pointless, like much of the communication in the corporate world (not to put too fine a point on it).  The logo of the last corporation I worked for — the one that drove me over the edge — is incorporated into the writing on the wall.  (I almost wrote Klaatu barada nikto, but decided that was far too civilized for an office environment.  I wonder if they even say that in the new version of The Day the Earth Stood Still?)  I’m one of those dorky science fiction afficionados who carries those words in my heart.

I found the little glass case in a local antique shop my bbest team friend, Kate, introduced me to.  The minute I saw it I thought, “soul cage.”   The feathers are especially close to my heart:  I was a docent at an art museum when an installation I particularly loved was being removed.  These little feather bits were left on the floor and have been in my secret stash for over 20 years. 

This piece contains no kitchen sink, however.

I hesitate to explain exactly what everything means to me, ’cause I want my viewer to infuse the piece with her/his experiences when looking at it.  I hope what is obvious is that the figures are stuck in a grey world made out of money and can’t seem to reach through to the blue sky, clouds and birds.  


Entry filed under: All Posts, art and artists, latest projects, symbols / personal iconography. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. springreen  |  7 January 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Now I am inspired to search for work that actually pays…um…not.

  • 2. Christie  |  7 January 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Yes, this is how I feel. Very well done- both artistically and technically.

  • 3. Christine  |  7 January 2009 at 11:58 am

    Very impressive, Althea! I’m sure this will touch a lot of people. It’s sad that the corporation, despite the Latin root of the word, which means “to make into a body,” seems to lack a soul.


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