David ‘Meggs’ Hooke and Miya Tsukazaki (together Temple Children) created the evolving and interactive installation ‘UNITED > DIVIDED’ currently on view for Thinkspace curated exhibition, ‘LAX/DTW: Detroit Hustle II’ at Inner State Gallery now through August 26th.
The immersive installation is a 270 -degree experience created as a three-phase progression, the initial phased marked as the “Divided.” Together Children invited friends, artists, and the public to participate in the artwork’s evolution, painting colorful peace signs and positive messages over the floor on one-half of the ‘X’ (a symbol for division).
In the artists’ words,
“The intention was to create a genuine experience of people working together to celebrate shared creativity, positivity, and sense of community. “A seemingly small gesture of inviting people into our home studio to paint on the floor side-by-side was a humbling experience overflowing with positive energy,” they said.
The ‘Greater Than’ ( > ) phase emerged as a result of the public’s involvement, and in the week that followed, MEGGS and Miya transitioned the installation into its final phase, ‘Unified.’ The resulting colorful peace sign leans on its side, a dual expression of the planet’s wavering environmental state and hope for a resurgence of solidarity. They installed living plants and flowers sourced from Eastern Market, creating a juxtaposition of Detroit’s discarded layers and Mother Nature’s revival.
The underlying inspiration for the artwork was their reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and was motivated to highlight what human beings are capable of through unification, continued proactivity, and perseverance from the community level up.”
“The fight against catastrophic climate change begins and ends with us, and we must take responsibility for our own carbon footprints in the name of Mother Earth,” says MEGGS.
‘UNITED > DIVIDED’ was created in MEGGS’ & Miya’s home studio from approximately 90% repurposed and natural materials that the two began collecting in the fall of 2014.
Featured solo exhibition as part of this year’s BEYOND EDEN event presented by Thinkspace – MEGGS: PAVING PARADISE
The title of this exhibition is inspired by the iconic lyric, “They paved paradise, to put up a parking lot,” sung by Joni Mitchell in her famous 1970’s song Big Yellow Taxi.
The sentiment of this powerful lyric and the song itself mourns the loss of natural beauty at the hands of industrialization. Mitchell mocks the irony of over-developing a place with natural surrounds, which attracted people in the first place.
The artwork in this show plays on the same irony and notion of tragedy. Consumerism, materialism, and over-development of the urban landscape are rapidly devastating the same natural resources and beauty we conceive as ‘Paradise’ — a utopian place where its community can live in peace, resources are sustainable, and we can equally appreciate the natural and social environment we live in.
‘Paving Paradise’ juxtaposes images of industry and urban decay with the beauty and vibrance of nature, sending a message that we must preserve & appreciate the ‘paradises’ we seek. We need to live with less, be more community-minded, and practice sustainability before it is too late to do so again.
“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone.
They paved paradise, to put up a parking lot….”