Build Dwell Think


“It seems that building (which belongs to dwelling as a means to it) and dwelling (as the way we are on the earth) are made possible and meaningful by our thoughtful attendance to them, mainly through language.” Martin Heidegger, Building Dwelling Thinking

I can’t pretend to understand Heidegger, but his idea fits this series. I build small sculptural objects, which usually include paintings. The objects are miniature parts of buildings with figures, fixtures or furniture, at about 1/12 scale, like a dollhouse. (This is the scale of model cars I designed and built as a kid.) The objects are places, spaces, stories, scenes, scenarios, or snapshots. It’s easy to put my awareness inside these objects, because I can imagine myself as one of the figures. I create the objects by starting from a mixture of personal memory, bible stories, myth, culture, and historical art work. Then I dwell in the associations that spread from those first ideas. Near the end of construction of the object, I write a poem that describes the object and its associations. I inscribe the poem on the object as graffiti. I write the poem as song lyrics, in order to sing it into my memory. During construction I think of a musical phrase, which I expand into a song whose rhythm and rhyme guide the lyrics. In some pieces I construct the music to correspond to the structure of the object, like the Aborigine song lines with which people sang the shape of the landscape in order to remember it.

Midway through the series, I came upon this photograph of an ancient Greek temple model which feels like what I’m trying to do.

Greek Votive Model of the Argive Heraion c.a. 680 B.C.