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Sculpture (MA)

Jared Louis Stein

Mountain Athlete → Artist

Expedition → Exile

Monotheistic Sacred → Technological Sacred

Belief → Technique

גְּבוּרָה (Gevurah) → חֶסֶד (Hesed)

Cast Honey column descending over salt field.

This work is rooted in a deep concern for the relationship between belief and knowledge in

contemporary approaches to the unknown. It begins with a recognition that technological

advancement has invaded the realm of mythical achievement without a symbolic

understanding of the feats achieved. The work is animated by two beliefs: 1) Technological

advancement is an inevitable outgrowth of, and essential to, the development of

consciousness; 2) A one-sided technological trajectory that refuses to engage with the

symbolic and the unconscious is fundamentally rooted in hubris.

The point of departure for this work is the psychic function of the unconscious to correct an

overdeveloped, one-sided conscious standpoint by frustrating the conscious desire. This

frustration of desire emerges from an a priori structure of psychic orientation within the

development of consciousness. This work uses sculpture and performance to critique the

development of technology by analogy to a developing consciousness confronted by the

frustration of desire. My approach is narratively structed by the stages of conscious

development: emergence of the ego from the unconscious, ascent of the ego away from

the unconscious, hypertrophy of the ego leading to confrontation with the unconscious,

frustration of desire and descent into the unconscious, coagulation of a new ego

This narrative emerges from the tension between material states of dryness and

moistness, respectively denoting the conscious tendency toward stability and

differentiation, and the unconscious tendency toward fluidity and non-differentiation. Salt,

a natural desiccant, forms the conscious pole, and Honey, a natural humectant, forms the

unconscious pole. Other materials emerge as varied expressions of this dad, but all are

assimilated to either salt or honey based on their tendency toward dryness or moistness

stability or fluidity. The sculptures derive from, and inform, the performance work. The

material narrative is expanded in the performance pieces through the inclusion of tools

and techniques for expedition travel, from early mountaineering to space exploration. The

expedition is the predominant scientific-historical vessel for entry into the unknown with

the intent to produce knowledge. The narrative arc expresses the evolution of this

expedition vessel, which demonstrates both increasing agency over external, physical

reality and more sophisticated techniques for producing knowledge. Each performance is

conceived as an expedition. The intention is to transmute a schema for external

exploration into a framework for symbolic expedition. Technological tools are used in

support of spiritual techniques, such as fasting and isolation, to create zones of encounter

with the unconscious.

The title, Traverse, indicates both a movement from side to side, and a movement toward

expressing the circumambulatory approach made to the unconscious. This conscious

approach to the unconscious reflects the essential human need to commune with the

ineffable and identify with the suprapersonal. The unconscious desire for belief is an

essential corollary to the conscious desire for knowledge. In critique of technological

hubris, this work proposes a developmental model oriented by conscious participation in

the reciprocal movement between conscious and unconscious realities.

Plastic formed stand with carved salt object.
Cast Honey Column over salt field.
Cast Honey Column over salt field.
Hand formed plastic umbilical.
Hand formed plastic umbilical.
Cast blood column over cast desiccant bead altar.
Cast blood column over cast desiccant bead altar.