Fresh out of college, I was commissioned by Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) to build the site-specific sculpture “Dreamstand” in downtown Los Angeles. While this was a good experience for a young artist like me to learn how to deal with my given time and budget as well as securing city approvals, I think that it may have worked on a more metaphysical level as well. While this sculpture was built as a combination speakers’ podium (facing city hall) and covered park bench (which I was informed while removing it that it was being used as a “home” for one of the local homeless), it may have acted like a Stairway to Heaven for me – except that the state where I landed was home to a pro sports team known as the Devils, being based on a creature said to have existed in it’s so-called Pine Barrens. Before leaving the City of Angels, I did a student work in which a car and the highway were major components. On 8mm film and called “Drawing”, it was shot at night as I drove onto a circular onramp and about a mile of freeway. An expansion of this idea was later done with “Cloverleaf” in which special effects and audio were added to the video of getting off and on the four ramps of a highway interchange. Videos of loops and roads and even paintings of intersections followed – many shared here on the netbeavior list. Many of my experimental works use Paul Virilio’s notion of dromoscopy – a perspective that is found in motion. An ontology of motion has been written by Thomas Nail in “Being and Motion” in which he shows how it is motion – more essential than time (which is derivative of motion) – that is fundamental to being. Don’t be fooled by the title of the “Monument to the End of the Road”. Although many experts say that we may be on the precipice of a collapse of life as we know it, it will not mean the end of the road. Even if we manage to get over this crisis and develop new modes of transportation, roads will remain for the terrestrial. But as part of the solution to our climatic challenge, perhaps roadways may become less or even wholly different than what they are today. The sculpture proposed here is to be made using standard highway building technologies. It should not be near any other highway interchanges and ideally located somewhere it can be viewed both below (as a pavilion) and from above (in buildings, mountain roadways, or even air routes).


- Anthony Stephenson