The Elementary Object

Corsican briarwood, steel, plastic, concrete/vermiculite, excelsior packing material, flannel, paper tag, fuse cord, triple F blasting powder
3 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches
multiple of 13

The Elementary Object is a commentary on the responsibility of the intellectual, the use of theory and critique to transform society, and the occasional unintended negative results of such words and opinions.

This work is fashioned from European briarwood, loaded with triple F superfine blasting powder, nestled in a bed of excelsior, surrounded by vermiculite/concrete, and encased in a locked steel attaché case. Sardonic humor and the potential for tragic destruction meet at the point of the fuse.
In The Elementary Object, Chin utilizes an image that has been reproduced in art and literature, a reference to the history of tobacco and colonial expansion, one that has come to signify aspects of power, leisure, pleasure, and contemplation. This version loads an actual source for physical harm into the benign pipe in order to bring forward new fodder for explosive contemplation. “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.” “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” but is a bomb.

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