The Search, a monumental series of uniform steps that are reminiscent of a pyramid of bleachers or a ziggurat, will externally host performances, installations and public interactions and internally house conversations between pairs of interlocutors, sourced from St. Louis’s diversified community of writers, artists, scientists, philosophers, entrepreneurs, and politicians. The artist and curators will pair them up based on their understanding of their respective interests and vocations. Their dialogue, whatever they choose to talk about, will not be recorded, except for their respective signatures as a confirmation of their attendance.
Participants are given limited instructions and are left unconstrained save for a time limit. The length of their conversation, its substance and its terms are all up to them. They leave with the personal memory of the conversation. We, as spectators of the piece and the proceedings contained within, leave with the knowledge that it has taken place, only to speculate on what might have been. –JL 2012
From The Luminary:
Jason Lazarus’s The Search is a large-scale sculpture and participatory platform that will remain in the gallery over the course of our entire exhibition season, which is focused on the concept of “Sporadic Democracy.” The piece will weave through multiple exhibitions, re-inscribing its meaning as numerous artists and others engage it through various performances, installations, and both private and public conversations over the course of the year (2014-2015).
General Curatorial Statement
For this iteration of The Search, the piece is situated in a year-long exploration of the concept of “Sporadic Democracy” at The Luminary in St. Louis. We are interested in its physical and conceptual structures, the textures it creates as a series of steps, as a historical referent of a ziggurat, as a threshold of interior and exterior. Beyond the prompt of a search beyond the everydayness of one’s life, we were struck by the structure’s inherent patterns of power and hierarchy – the steps as sorting mechanism, the inside as exclusionary and invitation-based, the inherited history of the shape itself in monumentalizing, commemoration, law and mediation.
As noted by A. Leo Oppenheim, “ziggurats were often part of a temple complex that included a courtyard, storage rooms, bathrooms, and living quarters, around which a city was built.” Within our Sporadic Democracy series, we are asking what sort of space, what kind of city is being built? What happens when this consensus builds, what happens when it falls apart?
-James McAnally, Co-Director, The Luminary, 2014