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Eye and Cardinal

On the banners that run along State Street, Cardinal would depict a male red bird flying against a brilliant blue sky dotted with white clouds. The image would me slightly from one set of banners to the next, essentially using State Street as a giant flip book I imagine the image of the bird beginning quite small in the left hand banner and rather quickly moving in to a close up of the cardinals head, and then back out again to a far shot. Cardinal would provide a simple yet effective experience for pedestrians and drivers along State Street The image of the flying bird is quieting and humble in contrast to the commercial bustle surrounding it. Replacing regular advertising space with an unidentified image of nature would change the everyday experience.

Eye would be a 30-foot tall, realistic three-dimensional rreat, of an eyeball, placed at ground level in Pritker Park. The iris of the eye would be blue, the color of the artist’s iris. Like Cardinal, the sculpture strives to change the everyday experience. The enormous scale of the eye would miniaturize its surroundings. The eye is a universal symbol typically associated with knowledge, power and God, i.e.: the Masonic eye on our dollar bill. My roadside attraction, Eye, parodies power. Eye is meant to create a spectacle —to provide a photo op — for visitors and regulars to the city.

Although the sculpture, Eye, and the banner installation, Cardinal, are unique works and do not depend on each other, the State Street installation would create new meanings. The two works are linked formally; by the red, white and blue color palette as well as the repetition of the eye in the bird close up. Conceptually we would view the eye as a subject in the sculpture, and literally use the eye to create movement on the banners. The juxtaposition of two archetypal images with the city of Chicago as a backdrop would create a grand surreal picture. Inspiration for the works includes surrealists René Magritte and Salvador Dali and filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch.

—Tony Tasset 12/1/09

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