Ann Hamilton (privation and excesses - grinders)

Two mechanized mortars and pestles, teeth, pennies
dimensions variable

A component of the installation privation and excesses, 1989, was a pair of wall-mounted mechanized mortars and pestles, one of them grinding teeth, the other one grinding pennies. The dematerializing teeth were in contrast to the overriding element of that installation, a 45 x 32 foot field of 750,000 copper pennies-laid into a surface coating of honey on the building’s concrete floor. As Hamilton notes, “Where the installation juxtaposed the animal economy of honey to the human economy of money, these grinders similarly juxtapose the biologically produced and the human made.” For her earliest mechanized tables, as well as her most recent spinning speakers, Hamilton has tinkered with existing industrial equipment for sculptural and audio effect. The pulverizing sounds of these two grinders within the installation, as Hamilton notes, were “the background to the lathering movement and sloshing sound of hands in honey.”

Photo credit: Ben Blackwell
Text excerpted from Ann Hamilton: An Inventory of Objects. New York: Gregory R. Miller & Co., 2006. Joan Simon