Protecting Us from Problems 2015

In collaboration with Spencer Byrne-Seres.

Spencer and I work together at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and one day during a pre-Time Based Arts festival meeting with Kristan, Spencer brought a tiny, dried up slug and set it on the table. We were astonished at the size of it, but more astonished by the story he told.

According to the people at the computer repair store, his hard-drive had been "slimed" by the slug, it crawled in through an air vent and totally destroyed the motherboard. During destruction, the slug was fried into a little crispy slug. After the slug ruined his computer, Spencer devised a plan to keep future slugs out of his basement bedroom in SE Portland. He decided to line the perimeter of his room with salt which is known to prevent slugs from entering buildings.

I didn't know Spencer very well at the time, and I imagined his room to have a very thick ring of salt all the way around - including in the doorway. Later that summer, I went to Spencer's room for the first time, and I asked, "Where's the salt?" He pointed out a few small specks on the carpet.

I started researching the different uses for salt, and I found that one of the main uses for salt is to protect people from problems - all kinds of problems including slugs and evil spirits. When I was asked to make a piece for the PSU MFA scholarship show, I decided to create what I had imagined in Spencer's room, a very thick line of salt around the perimeter of a room, this time in the gallery. That way, me and the other graduate students and our art would be protected from debt, feeling like losers, "not making it," and sleep-deprivation, among other things.