The term Wappen, the German word for Coat of Arms, is used for its potential to riff on a medieval shield, updating this protective device, for the twenty first century. It suggests brand, a badge identifying groups such as family, team, tribe, or religious order. The shadows on the floor reflect this idea, suggesting the logo of an unknown cartoon action hero.
Spot lit from above the helmets are suspended in a dark room. Their height and form implies the body below. Participants are encouraged to walk in and amongst the helmets, experiencing the space and sound from different vantage points. Running through SuperCollider seven individual voices, appear in and move to different helmets, collectively creating dynamic vocal events. The sonic configuration explores the range of human experience, evoking dissonance, discord, and cacophony, evolving to consonance, sympathy and harmony, in a way that imagines the collective unconscious as energy, propelled between the yin and yang impulses of the universe.
Wappen Field is a participatory experience where visitors are invited to perceive sound spatially, and to encounter the sculptural environment as a cohesive fabric where each element, woven together, amplifies the other. Some might experience the sea of helmets as a field of souls dispossessed of their bodies. For others, it may evoke a graveyard, where we perceive our ancestors and future descendents as one with us in the present. Yet others may experience the frontal presentation and precision of the configuration as a militaristic assault. The helmets evoke armor, which protects and hides us in an attempt to create a border between self and the other. Information and objects are obstructed. Physical and psychic space is guarded, unless the edge is pierced, allowing foreign bodies and ideas to flood in. The boundary of armor asks the question: what is shut in, what is shut out?
In this context we may be reminded that while civilization and technology evolve, still, humanity appears to be governed by its limbic brain, pulling us again and again into conflict. This installation can be an occasion to imagine the collective unconscious as energy driven by collective subliminal desires. These proclivities shape societies. Political and economic regimes reflect this rhythm, shuttling through the pendulum of history, between repression and enlightened engagement.