Exploring otherness

By GREG COOK  |  December 18, 2013

Hao Ni successfully navigates these challenges with Window 1 and 2, subtle, affecting, conceptually-driven sculptures. But their meanings are ambiguous, making them perhaps less politically charged and more philosophical. They feature old windows (one has three, the other six) stacked against each other and leaning upon the wall. One set has stickers warning “No Solicitors” and then the backsides of kids’ stickers of flowers and butterflies. The other has stickers of stars, American flags, and “Warning: Shield Tech Security.” The groups of stickers repeat on each window in the same place to suggest many homes, layers of protection, the echoes of memory.

The windows reveal themselves slowly. They don’t necessarily prompt thoughts of race, but the objects feel familiar, nostalgic. They get you mulling home, security, America, how we try to protect children, how we try to protect each other.

Trayvon Martin, Sinclair says, “was murdered by the neighborhood watch and he wasn’t doing anything wrong . . . You were in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong clothes, the wrong gender, so you were right to be attacked.”

We rely on police and firefighters, on alarm companies and neighborhood watches, to head off trouble and come to our aid. But when these “authorities” are perverted by bigotry, how can we all equally pursue happiness?

Follow Greg Cook on Twitter at @AestheticResear.

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