Animated LED wall-mounted sculpture. 2020
Supply Chain: Vertical Integration builds on work produced early in 2020 which had limited public exposure (due to COVID) at fooLPRoof Gallery. The work examines the heightened awareness of the global supply chain due to shortages, hoarding, and speculation during the public health crisis of 2020.
Supply Chain: Vertical Integration is a commentary on the consolidation of production, distribution and marketing of pharmaceuticals - by using over a thousand small pharmaceutical-grade glass vials as material arranged in a vertical, cascading animated light sculpture.
The glass vials were sourced from the supply chain of a pharmaceutical company - one produces drugs to combat opioid addiction - while another manufactures the additive drugs - the treatment provided through the public health and criminal justice systems and administered oftentimes to those incarcerated for offenses related to their opioid addictions. The aim is not to level blame, but to simply cast light on the intricately complex processes and entanglements of supply, demand and the manufacture of both.
In my role as Director of Testing and Artist in Residence at Artemis Vision (an industrial computer vision engineering company in Denver) I not only have access to state of the art imaging technologies and software development resources, but interact regularly with clients from the pharmaceutical, energy, materials production, and supply chain industries. As a designated 'essential' business, due to our involvement with healthcare, government and logistics industries, we saw first-hand the fragility of the supply chain during 2020. Getting goods from one place to another, without losing track of what was where at any given time is a surprisingly complex endeavor involving many many people, technologies of various types and cooperation and collaboration to ensure each hand-off along the way is timely, efficient and authentic.
As an artist who works with technology I noticed a certain beauty with respect to this process, but also observed the biases, frameworks and effects of breakdowns on the overall supply chain, in a time when it mattered most. With talk of vaccines, availability, distribution challenges, and problems of credibility within the FDA, public health institutions, and government agencies tasked with oversight of emergency responses, the work has morphed meanings due to the increase in awareness surrounding our ability as a society to get things from one place to another - something we have in the past largely taken for granted.