“DETROIT -- Michigan's unemployment rate has hit double digits for the first time in nearly a quarter century.” –mlive.com
I will be casting 10 cement blocks with the help of 10 contracted individuals, who will be screened and interviewed before the actual initiation of the project. They will be unemployed acquaintances, as well as individuals contacted via local temporary work agencies such as Midwest Labor Services Inc, the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries. I am proposing that Student Government grant me the full commission of $1,500, so that the remaining money go to the contracted individuals, as compensation, for their aid in the completion of this piece. I am also prepared to pay money out of my own pocket if necessary. As this piece is not only about the physical and monetary equivalency of humans, it also refers to current economic crisis and how it has affected the lives of many people. This is why money is the crucial component to the realization of this piece.
I am heavily influenced by the provocative works of Santiago Sierra, specifically his piece titled, Workers Who Cannot Be Paid, Remunerated To Remain Inside Cardboard Boxes. This work was a performance/installation which used cardboard boxes to cover up 6 refugees, living in Germany, to remain still for four hours a day for a period of six weeks. Sierra paid the refugees their salaries in secret, because of their status as political exiles. Sierra states on his website that, “German legislation gives exiled people 80 marks, about $40, a month, and prohibits them from working under the threat of returning them to their county of origin.” Once the cement blocks are cast and solidified, a paraphrased response to the question of, what is the most memorable moment in your life up to this point in time? Will be inscribed on the block of cement each individual participated in creating. I am also proposing that the finished pieces not be placed in the student sculpture garden but around campus in various places, in which both the public and the student/faculty body can interact with the piece. If there are any issues or concerns involving this piece, I would be happy to elaborate further or come to a compromise so that I may fully realize this project. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,Gilbert Mendoza Merino III