2009 Antonio Serna
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AMERICAN PROGRESS:

 

There are grave contradictions in the various systems that society has constructed to perpetuate it's logic; I’m referring specifically to the idea of progress, in scientific, social, and artistic realms. American Progress is a group of work that explores the framework of these systems in order to examine the contradictions inherent within them.

1. American (Diploducus & Camposognathus) Series of 6'x4' oil paintings, 10 total. 2.Tool (or Art is a Tool) This 20 foot long tool was found on campus at Brooklyn College. Replicas of the tool were made. The replicas are for sale at cost + labor. 3. Live-In Locker Contest for Brooklyn College Students. The contest was to design a "live-in" unit to fit in the art lockers, allowing a student to stay in the locker for 5 days. $500 is offered to the winner but information on how to enter the contest is not listed on the flyer. The money was a ploy to implicate "creativity" and "design" for unknown causes. I'd been following the case of Sayed Hashmi, a Brooklyn College student caught in the Islamphobic dragnet of 911. he was in solitary confinement for 2.5 yrs pre-trial, which is the about a little over the time it takes someone to complete an MFA. 4. Perfect Lovers is a box with an x-ray. It's a ready made of sorts. I used to make intense Surrealist drawings in High School. There was one floating around my family that I had sold to an uncle. Eventually nobody wanted to keep it, maybe too creepy? And they said I could take it back. The only people that have seen it is within my family, so the audience is limited. I send this packed to NY together with a thrift shop painting I bought in Texas. When I arrived I noticed they had inspected the package, did they like what they saw?. I since have left it sealed, with a limited audience of my family plus 1 inspector. 5. Lunch is a replica of a homeless sign balanced with a replica oil painting of a America pioneer artist Jonathan Gast, 1872. Actual size and everything. Progress and problems are inseparable, but which do you think came first? Money collected from this project was donated to Books Through Bars, a prisoner reading encouragement project. 6. Box Equations and 7. Slaves... These are by-products of previous projects. The body stencils was used to help design the "live-in" locker units (see no.3), since I didn't have an extra person to help me with the measurements I had to make a surrogate. Curiously enough, out of the first box I picked I was able to cut out all the parts for 1 body. So 1 box= 1 body. Later I did variations, 1 box (2 two six pack of Coronas) = 5 heads, 1 box (Dunkin Donuts Box coffee = 8 arms, etc. These Equations undo the alienation of consumerism and production by assigning life values to boxes you see on the streets everyday... Slaves where made from all the Box Equations. In slaves I was thinking about the urge to make slave, both historical and contemporary ideas of what is means to be a slave... this is my last project at BC, my goal was to keep making slaves, 500 is a good number.

American Progress is a grouping of recent work completed in the Brooklyn College MFA program 2010.
Master Project and Thesis Advisor: Vito Acconci.

 

 

Series Index:
introduction
Americana (Diploducus & Camposognathus)
Tool (sculpture)
"Live-In" Locker Unit Design Contest (contest + sculpture)
Perfect Lovers (paiting + sculpture)
Lunch (painting + sculpture)
Equations (photogrphs + sculpture)
Slaves (sculpture)