Ploughshares Into Swords
“They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” (Isaiah 2:4) February 1991 – Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY: The United States is bombing Iraq. Each day I burn and drill the steel face of another shovel. I can’t make the placid garden sentinels that I envisioned last Summer; these are warrior masks. This morning one of the other artists left the breakfast table because we were talking about the burning oil fields and polluted sea. The shovel/mask I made today is a mutilated abstraction. June 1991 – Hirsch Farm Project, Hillsboro, WI: The rolling green farmland is dotted with black and white Holsteins. But, this tired grey soil only serves to hold the stalks of corn in place. Without another dose of chemicals it would be lifeless. A herd of cows snacks on a forgotten bag of the pesicide Aldrin. And I wonder: how do you dispose of toxic milk? October 1991 – Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY: When ploughshares are wielded by those who see land as money, they become swords against the earth. Agriculture is no longer the most benign of human activities; it has become ecological warfare: monocultivation, agrobusiness, pesticides, herbicides, deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, dustbowl, chemical fertilizers, burning the rainforest, tabacco, agrosubsidy, logging, irrigation, wetland, destruction, aquifer contamination, army corps of energeers, salt buildip, species extinciton.