Artist Hilary White describes the mechanics of her new illuminated installation in saying, “For The Beginning and the End a motor would continuously turn the roll of paper attached to the type writer. The paper made into a loop that repeated its rotations. When a person would type the letters it never made words due to the movement of the paper turning on the roll. Eventually the light would be dimmed by the ink of the typed letters.” Moreover, White re-orientates the viewers understanding of the meaning of these everyday objects to transform their utilitarian purpose into one of the spiritual world.
Around the same time I visited White’s installation I also recently went to see Terrence Malick’s film the Tree of Life (2011) and was most disappointed with his tiresome insistence on depicting the grandiose mysteries of the universe relentlessly for two and half hours. I walked out feeling bored and bombarded with Malick’s heavy dose of philosophic yearning. Malick forces the viewer into constant engagement with his perspective, so much so that when I was released from the theater I was concerned more with what I would be having for dinner than the reason for my existence on this globe. White’s work invokes the opposite response, in beckoning the viewer to examine the obscure splendor of everyday life through the elucidation of household objects. In her reinvention of the “ready-made object” White points past herself as author and creator in a manner which allows for unanswered questions about this baffling object’s existence that Mallick himself could learn from.