Left: An amazing young woman who taught me that keen sensitivity renders people particularly vulnerable to addiction (photo on glass block)
Right: Students observing installation in fountain at USC
Can you imagine ever walking past someone who is drowning?
We all have, each time we’ve walked past someone slumped over on a sidewalk from drug addiction.
Addiction is like drowning. We wouldn’t judge someone whose decisions got themselves in water over their heads, so why do we judge those who have been taken prisoner by the chemical force of drugs?
When I began interviewing people for this art series, I knew nothing about drugs or addiction. As they shared their experiences, my empathy grew…along with a sense of responsibility to awaken others to the truth about addiction.
Look for this installation in fountains and reflecting pools near you. If you have ideas where it should be seen, let me know and I will try to make it happen. Of all the Empty Fix Project installations, this one is specifically designed to reach people who otherwise might not think about addiction and its ravages on our families, friends, workmates and neighbors.
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Inside view: Artists don’t know how their art will be experienced until it is installed. Eyes were first installed at the Utah State Capitol fountain. After placing the last eye block, I stepped back and allowed myself to take it all in. My breath caught. I was profoundly touched by the unexpected. They were rendered mute, silent. By only using their eyes and not their mouths, I had silenced them. That is what our judgment—the stigma of addiction—does. It silences them.
Photo: Eyes floating in fountain at the Utah State Capitol