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UNITED / DIVIDED- PROJECT STATEMENT

Advancing technologies continue to shift our American economic base from manufacturing to service. With these shifts, the focus of attention is often on what is gained in the wake of progress. It is my aim, as an artist, to investigate the implications of that which is lost ( specifically in regard to industrial manufacturing and the human spirit) in the wake of technological, political, and economic progress.

This project is inspired, in part, by the history of Kansas City and research on globalization’s impact on products, manufacturing and people. One such remarkable study published in 1998 by Bill Bamberger and Cathy Davidson is CLOSING: The Life and Death of the American Factory.

UNITED /  DIVIDED explores contemporary issues of work, identitiy and the vocabulary of globalization. This project appropriates the building, its contents, and its workers as an art object for a three-day duration in conjunction with site-specific interventions assembled and fabricated to the Artists specifications.

UNITED / DIVIDED is a site-specific installation that takes its subject from a Kansas City based manufacturer, the United Metal Spinning Company- family owned and operated since 1929 and was recently acquired by an out of state company. Metal Spinning is a method on manufacturing that is slowly becoming a lost art due to the advancement of technology, foreign competition, and the shifting role of the skilled artisan/craftsperson in America.

UNITED / DIVIDED incorporates the manufacturing environment, the tools of the trade, a tableaux for gathering-with places set and name tags identifying a cross section of 3000 imaginary workers intermingling with the catchwords of the realities of a globalized economy, and video documentation of workers and the objects of their trade.

With my background in design and multiple collaborations architects and designers and jobshops large and small has provided me with a critical awareness and appreciation of the shifting role of products and manufacturing within our culture. Placing Art into everyday life and investigating works that blur the boundaries between architecture, design, and art continue to inspire my vision.

May Tveit
2004