You must praise the mutilated world - Adam Zagajewski

A performance in three Acts,The More That Is Taken Away meditates on inheriting histories of mass violence. It is an attempt to negotiate with the past and with its echoes in the present. 

Beginning in late 2011, I made an earthwork behind my house in rural upstate New York, an excavation that was both a construct and a site. The work was done unassisted and with hand tools. The dimensions of the excavation were 60 x 10 x 4.5 feet. The site includes the digging area, the mound of excavated dirt, and the small field that surrounds them.

In Act 1 the excavation evolved by subtraction. Sculptural shapes were successively created, damaged by weather and vegetation, re-shaped, and removed. In Act 2, I shaved off my long hair. At twenty stations along the site I filmed myself undressing, then photographed myself lying in the pit. For Act 3, these “body” photographs were printed life-size on cotton fabric and exhibited in a work-in-progress gallery installation. Afterwards I buried them in the pit in the positions of the original poses. The site was leveled and seeded with wildflowers and grasses, in which the “body” images reappear as semi-legible forms.

Physical work is essentially complete. The traces of that work are a complete video record and a set of large-format black-and-white photographs. These materials have been and will be exhibited in a variety of combinations and media: an 85-minute movie; large installations with the photographs, projections, and multi-channel video; a published book; and an artist book.

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Short introductory video