The Waiting Room

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Spaces of waiting exist in each of our lives, sometimes quite literally (a doctor’s office, the ER), while at other times, they exist only in the abstract (waiting for a better time to come, for happiness, or love). The Waiting Room hovers somewhere between the concrete and the ephemera. Using the conventions and aesthetics of waiting rooms, I’ve created a space that is simultaneously real and unreal; a meditation on, and exploration of, time, waiting, and fate.

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To enter The Waiting Room, one must pass through a barrier of thread, designating the space as a world within a world. The piece itself is a gigantic clock, with chairs in place of numbers. The viewer who enters the space quite literally interacts with time as a clipboard and magazine move from chair to chair, representing the movement of the hands of the clock

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The use of fiber in this piece signifies the ether, the pure raw substance of the universe from which life and experience is created. This is integrally connected to the three fates of Greek mythology. The first of the fates, Clotho, spins the thread of life from the substance of void. Next, Lechesis measures the thread to determine the length of each human life. Finally, Atropos cuts this thread, signifying death.

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These actions associated with fate are portrayed on the piece’s three television screens, quite literally placing the viewer, the one who is waiting, in the presence of fate. The audio coming from the televisions are distorted samples recorded from several waiting rooms where I sat knitting the three hearts suspended in bell jars. These hearts rest underneath incandescent lamps, symbolizing a manifestation of life incubated, life suspended, life constructed of the stuff of the ether.

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Several aspects of different meditative practices are incorporated into the piece. Due to the work’s circular nature, the viewer is required to circumambulate the room to see it in its entirety. In circumambulation, a Buddhist meditative practice, the practitioner circles a sacred space in the aim of attaining enlightenment. This, combined with the meditative repetition of the audio and video, allows the viewer to explore the concepts of time and waiting with depth and profundity.

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About Ben Cuevas

Ben Cuevas is a Los Angeles based interdisciplinary artist whose work spans a wide range of mediums including installation, sculpture, fiber, photography, video, performance, and sound. Often incorporating several of these elements into any given piece, he makes use of digital media as a means of documentation. In light of its pluralistic qualities, he sees his work as a reflection on the condition of embodiment, exploring what it means to have a body, to inhabit a body, to be a body incarnated in, and interacting with this world.

14 comments

  1. Rebecca

    This is absolutely brilliant!

  2. Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking your feeds too now, Thanks.

  3. Hey, I found your blog while searching on Google your post looks very interesting for me. I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Works in Progress Part III: The Heart « The Art of Ben Cuevas

  5. @k4rm3n

    ben, your artwork was featured on @craft today!!! i RT’ed via twitter and fwd’ed to my facebook. ♥ it – absolutely insane! please, keep it up. (c:

    btw, are you on twitter/facebook to keep up with your work…

  6. an astonished observer

    Listening to the audio that accompanies this piece, gives me the feeling of being in a factory or industrial plant where our lives are being manufactured from the stuff of fate.
    Going through a period of waiting myself at the time, this piece feels very poignant and evocative of what the experience of waiting is really like.

  7. Ann Rea

    Brilliant work! Congratulations!!

  8. Pingback: Healing Disparities: The Condition of Embodiment « The Art of Ben Cuevas

  9. Glynis

    Date

    Dear Ben

    We are a team of conceptual curators based at the University of Creative Arts in Farnham, UK.

    Taking recent writings by Harold Schweizer and Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” as a theoretical starting point, we are trying to plan an exhibition for the autumn of 2011 entitled “Waiting for……” which will explore the idea of waiting.

    Hitherto viewed as an unwelcome state in today’s hectic pace when time is money, the exhibition proposes alternative ways of thinking about waiting. Simone Weil, the French philosopher, advocated that waiting must be relearned as a form of attention. The planned exhibition will encompass sound, video, sculpture, installation, photography, painting and text to facilitate a more positive appreciation of the times when we cannot do what we had originally planned.

    It is also in our plan that the exhibition will take place in a London based gallery or space and we hope subsequently to tour Glasgow, Nottingham, Bristol and Oxford.

    “Waiting for……” views waiting as an opportunity for unexpected outcomes and insights. With this in mind, would you be interested in participating in this exhibition should ours plans come to fruition?
    Attached is a list of artists with similar relevant works we would also be pleased to include in our planned exhibition.

    Please email your response at your earliest convenience and we would be happy to discuss the details further. Thank you for your kind attention and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely,

    Glynis Ayling
    Ann Miller
    Ann Sanger
    Samantha Fairbairn
    Anne Jewkes

    Joseph Kosuth Tobias Putrih

    Raqs Media Collective Karen Musick

    Taysir Batniji Michael Rougier

    Anthea Hamilton Fiona Tan

    Anthony McCall Gillian Adams

    Nelun Harasgama Brett Amory

    Nnamdi Okonkwo Louisa Kwan

    Andrew Stonyer Ben Cuevas

    • Dear Glynnis et al.

      Thanks so much for contacting me on my blog about participating in your forthcoming exhibition. I’d be honored to have my work in the show!

      Please let me know more about how you’d like to have me involved…are you interested in having “The Waiting Room” installed? I look forward to discussing the details with you. Feel free to email me at bencuevas@gmail.com

      Cheers,
      -Ben

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