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How do you feel about humor? The Troy piece at the end of the hallway, way up high: Something about where it’s located, and its proximity to other mechanical stuff that the building needs to run on, seems so goofy and so appropriate; I really liked that, and yet it duplicates the light of this legendary place. That device for dropping apples, and the plop sound it makes, is also very funny. Can you talk about how the concepts behind your work—light, breeze, darkness—ideas that most people regard as ephemeral—are framed by things, objects?

I’m trying to make it as matter-of-fact as possible. And also I do everything myself, as much as possible. Programming of that wind piece had to be done by someone else. It uses a DMX [digital mixing] system that’s normally used for lights. It was actually very simple. It took the guy, like, 45 minutes to program. The apple dropper is these really simple motors, and I put it together with a friend. It uses BASIC [an early computer programming language], and I just wasn’t able to do the programming.


There’s something nice about an “apple-dropping machine” being programmed in BASIC, as if it’s going back to original sin, or school.

(Laughs.) And all the electronics I put in Tupperware so you can see them.


Lock in freshness.

Of course, it’s always an aesthetic decision, and that decision, always in my case, leans toward the minimal, not the decorative. But it’s also about the integrity of materials, which is something that came from my training: that you don’t try to hide things too much, you sort of have it out there so people will know. People are also curious about that. … I’m not interested in smoke and mirrors. ... I mean, I AM interested in smoke and mirrors, literally, but I’m not interested in smoke and mirrors, figuratively.

Spencer Finch’s _Composition in Red and Green_, his homage to Issac Newton, at MASS MoCA.
  • Spencer Finch’s _Composition in Red and Green_, his homage to Issac Newton, at MASS MoCA.
Sunlight in an Empty Room (Passing Cloud for Emily Dickenson, Amherst, MA, August 28, 2004).
  • Sunlight in an Empty Room (Passing Cloud for Emily Dickenson, Amherst, MA, August 28, 2004).
_Night Sky (Over the Painted Desert, Arizona, January 11, 2004)_
  • _Night Sky (Over the Painted Desert, Arizona, January 11, 2004)_
_Blue (One Second Brainwave Transmitted to the Star Rigel)_ as seen at MASS MoCA.
  • _Blue (One Second Brainwave Transmitted to the Star Rigel)_ as seen at MASS MoCA.

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