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Boom Booms

Public art. London.

Jason Hackenwerth: I have always been fascinated carnival rides, airplanes, and pretty much any vehicle that goes up, or goes fast or zips across the water. For me the exhilarating feeling these provide is freeing. They cause an instant adherence to the present moment and everything else fades away.

Similarly, while I’m working on my sculptures I feel very present and connected to the process. It is almost as if the process of working becomes so entrancing I enter into a kind of portal to the unconscious. For me this is very important because I have always been convinced that the work I am making already exists in the ethos but through my meditative efforts I am able to manifest them into the physical dimension. Because my works cannot easily be placed on the ground outdoors, I would often make my sculptures wearable, and when putting them on a performative element is created. This makes for a very interesting opportunity to bring that same kind of surprising experience to my viewers that I get when I am working. 

At a certain point I knew that I wanted to make the sculptures much larger than the forms I could wear on my body, but I didn’t want to lose the performative aspect. My solution was to create works that would attach to the basket of articulating boom lifts so they could be raised high in the air and move around. Even more interestingly I wanted to place two side by side and create a type of choreography so the large sculptures could interact with each other and put on a kind of “show.”  I pitched the concept to several curators and organization directors over the course of some years, but it seemed no one would take the chance. Until finally Andy Brydon, the curator and director of Curated Place in Manchester UK got behind the idea and helped make it a reality. We made several sculptures over the course of two weeks and placed them in key areas in Manchester England where crowds would gather beneath. The movement and the industrial sounding beeping the lifts make when moving were very effective.

It is often the case that I understand my work more after having the opportunity to really look and see it after being inside the portal of creation making it. What I discovered with the Boom Booms was that not only do the sculptures continue to express all of the powerful transformative ideals inherent in the works. There became a relationship to the machinery that was more profound than I had anticipated. There was a duality that spoke about hard and softness, masculine/feminine, Alpha and Omega. I have had the opportunity to put sculptures on boom lifts several times now and it is always a fun and interesting experience both for me and the audiences who experience it.