Manhole 452: the Installation

Media InstallationWorks on PaperTRT: 12.45. Sound Design: Jim McKee; Narration: Arthur Schmidt. 
Graphite and charcoal on vellum..
"A darkly lyrical hybrid of rumination and documentation, so slightly tinted with humor as to leave viewers wondering whether they perceive it or imagine it.  ¶  A hanging series of angry orbs on vellum fleshes out Finley and Muse's show: charcoal rubbings of manhole covers from the San Francisco streets."  —Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
Despite assurances from local municipalities, manholes occasionally blow sky-high, more than most people realize.  The fictionalized film, Manhole 452, is a first person narrative that follows the reflections of a middle-aged man whose car was hit by an exploding manhole; he now rides the Geary Limited bus the length of Geary Street to his job fitting prosthetic limbs.  The narrative explores his obsession with calculating odds and the possibility of miracles amid random violent occurrence.

The drawings, charcoal and graphite rubbings on vellum, treat urban surfaces as lively and up to their own tricks; they are both supportive and dangerous  The film puts a concerned narrator into the driver's seat: he literally moves through the city and over these explosive objects; the drawings show the latter as animate, autonomous, powerful.  And because the drawings were made quite literally on the street, they document the artists' own encounter with the worlds above and below.

See the drawings for Manhole 452.