BEN PARRY: NEW WORLD DISORDER
PRESS RELEASE / FALL 2003
Liverpool-based artist Ben Parry was the first to have concurrent installations in Black & White's interior and outdoor spaces. Known for elaborate constructions made from cast-off materials, the work in the main gallery, titled TV World Order and the Technological Military Machine, featured nine life-size figures with televisions in place of heads facing inward in a circle. It was first shown at the 2002 Liverpool Biennial, and Parry conceived the outdoor installation, New World Disorder, as a site-specific extension of the original work. "I wanted to use the play of inside and outside to form a global narrative that referenced industrial machines, military war machines, domestic washing machines, and whatever other machines," said Parry. Resembling a dilapidated monument, the outdoor installation consisted of seven found objects mounted on stands, including an umbrella, an entrance sign from a condemned Liverpool factory, and a machine-gun crafted from discarded Coke cans that the artist modeled on a news photograph showing an Afghani child pointing a similar weapon at an American soldier. A belt running between the objects caused them to spin precariously in opposing directions under the force of a single motor. "There are obvious references to surveillance, politics, and war [in the work], but they come from personal frustrations rather than overt critique," said Parry, adding, "More interesting is the way it animated the space; there is a poetry to the way you put two objects together and breath life into things that are essentially trash." The work was destroyed after its run in the outdoor space, but Parry cites the project as a major shift in his overall practice, leading him from static installations to mechanical constructions.