Division of Labor
Division of Labor references the historic rock fences or stonewalls that created early divisions of public and private land in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. Many of the historic walls within the Bluegrass Region were built by Irish stonemasons and slave labor and serve not only as ways of literally manipulating the physical landscape through division, but also as an artifact of often anonymous labor. My installation calls attention to the traces of this labor by replacing the original permanent, dense material (rock) with a sewn structure made from fragile material (silk organza). Division of Labor is a ghostly barrier, a shell-like replica of an historic boundary fence of the region. The seemingly antithetical use of delicate needlecraft to create this fragile barrier directly engage with the uncredited artistry of stonemasonry rendered by forced or exploited labor.
By using the fence as a metaphor for interiority and exteriority, Division of Labor also explores the psychological implications of physical borders or barriers. Installed on the outer edge of the Berea College campus, Division of Labor speaks to the contained idea of utopia by exploring the dualities of public/private space.