Pride of Our Young Nation
(a heat seeking anti- personnel sculpture)
Steel, mechanics, control electronics,13ftx5ftx5ft. 1990-91
Pride of our young nation is a meditation on machines of war and the psychology which motivates their construction. Its material construction echoes the archetype of a piece of field artillery, unchanged since the napoleonic era, while its control system uses body heat detection and digital electronics. In this way it collapses the history of war machines into a single object.
The device senses the proximity of a visitor (using passive infra red detection of body heat). Process control circuitry initiates two actions. It tracks back and forth (locating the target), and `fires', its spiked conical barrel rotating and thrusting repeatedly and noisily. It is an impotent and somewhat adolescent machine.