Part of the International Sculpture Center's On-Track Exhibition
8th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art.
Flashes of light pierce into a darkened train car, punctuating the journey with jarring reminders of the vast world outside of this moving metal capsule of predetermined origin and destination. These two ideas flicker between fate and choice.
In the moments where the outside word interjects itself into the preconceived, we are given opportunity to gain perspective and contemplate our path. We must learn what we take for granted, and learn what is needed to diverge from the prescribed in order to move toward something new.
The westward expansion of the United States by rail under the principle of “Manifest Destiny” was thought to be a foregone conclusion, a god-given right to take over the North American continent. The transcontinental railroad was built on the backs of slaves, and exploited workers, and it served to further destroy Native American communities in the Western US in the name of progress, industry, and financial gain. In a way it is an encapsulation of the American ethos.
We each participate in ideas of fate or of choice. In our own lives, or in the way we become parts of larger systems. We must remember to look at the way that our actions affect all that exists around us. The world is not as simple as a set of parallel lines moving out into the distance. It is vast and complex, and we must know when it is time to move beyond the track set before us.
Train exterior at Steamtown National Historic Site
Wood, polished aluminum, polished cast iron, forged steel, vinyl-coated aircraft cable, paint, lighting. Commissioned by the International Sculpture Center for the 8th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art