Wavecaster, 2020-Present Photo sensitive paper, automatic paper towel dispenser Dimensions variable
Wavecaster is a piece influenced by the pandemic’s new emphasis on mundane tasks like washing and drying our hands. We now use automatic paper towel dispensers, which have long been a standard component of public bathrooms, more consciously and urgently than ever before. Instead of containing a paper towel roll, Wavecaster contains a roll of photopaper. Because no light can enter the dispenser, the photopaper is not exposed until viewers interact with the dispenser. As viewers wave their hands in front of the automatic sensor, the machine distributes a standardized length of rolled photopaper. As the paper exits the darkness of the interior and enters the bright exterior of the machine, it becomes exposed to light and begins changing color. Prior to exposure, the paper is a cream yellow; within 10-15 minutes of exiting the machine, it develops a pinkish tone. As time passes, the pink becomes more and more vivid until it starts turning a greyish color after three to four hours. As the exhibition progresses, the paper, which never gets ripped from the mouth of the machine, collects in a long and wavy pile on the floor. Wavecaster is like a visitor log. The work casts the viewers’ “waves,” registering their hand gestures by dispensing photopaper and marking the time of the previous gestures by the color of the paper. The tonal variation of the photopaper as it is ejected from the machine resembles an ocean sunset, and the paper draped and accumulated on the floor is suggestive of ocean waves. Last but not least, the word “wave” is always in people’s minds in 2020 as the COVID-19 virus menacingly rises, falls, and rises again.