Effigy of 10,000 Years - 02 Picture

This series of photographs shows one part of a project I completed on the subject of Prometheus. For those of you who don't know the myth of Prometheus, here is a brief summary (for those of you who already know all this, just skip to the next paragraph):

Prometheus was a titan who helped create humans from clay, and then stole fire from the gods to give to humanity, pissing off Zeus so that he had Prometheus chained to a mountain for eternity while every day an eagle came to eat his liver, which would regrow every night because Prometheus was immortal. After 10,000 years, Zeus let Hercules free Prometheus in exchange for vital information.

So for the project we were urged to think about his experience as he was chained to the top of the mountain - what he thought about, what happened to his mind and body, etc - with an emphasis on time. So what I thought about for this project was to somehow visually show just how much 10,000 years really is. At first I thought I'd get 10,000 toothpicks and create some sort of sculpture, but then I learned that toothpicks are frickin' expensive, and matches are cheaper (less than $1 for a box of 250, and I'd need 40 boxes), and are also related to fire, the very thing Prometheus brought to us. However, when I asked my teachers if I could do this as a project, they said they would only allow 10,000 matches into the art building if they'd already been burned, and were therefore not a danger. So I went off to Target and a hardware store and bought out their stocks of matches (and had some interesting conversations with the staff at the registers). The next step, I planned, was to create a spiral of matches in my driveway, burn it and document the event using both still pictures and video. However, I encountered some problems - one of which is that our driveway is made of dirt and covered in weeds, and wasn't very suitable for building a sculpture on. However, I was able to devise a smooth surface to build my sculpture on using a shipping crate that our neighbors were planning to throw away and some leftover boards from a floor remodeling some years ago. I set up the boards on top of the crate and viola, smooth work area! So I spent about 4 or 5 hours sitting outside in the freezing cold slowly emptying 40 boxes of matches onto a very large spiral, and after I was all done ( and my fingers were nearly frostbitten) my family came outside with cameras galore, and we BURNED IT ALL. It was incredibly satisfying. It was also cool to see how beautiful the flames and embers were. I later pieced together a slideshow and a video of the event, presented it to the class and got an A on my project. Life is sweet.

This piece is called "Effigy of 10,000 Years" because of it representing Prometheus' long sentence. Another idea behind it is that Prometheus would want to burn the memory of those years and purge them from his memory, and so would burn them in effigy in a sort of therapeutic ritual.
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