The Wheel of Fortune: An Installation

In July of 2020, I and an artist friend, Tawni Shuler, installed a piece in the tri-city “Windows on the Future” installation project called The Wheel of Fortune.

This installation project was sponsored by three different arts organizations: 516 Arts in Albuquerque, Vital Spaces in Santa Fe, and The Paseo Project in Taos, NM (where we are located) to support artists in a difficult time for showing work in person.

The call for installation proposals came in the Spring, at the height of the first corona virus outbreak when most of the country was on shutdown. The theme, “Windows on the Future,” asked artists to create work about an imagined future. They received 300 applications and 60 works were accepted. We are thrilled to have been accepted to participate.

Our interpretation of the theme is called The Wheel of Fortune. We documented our creative process by doing a weekly one minute video diary and sharing it on social media.

The videos are below–they are each less than a minute, so give them a watch and see what you think!  (Or you can just watch the last one to see the wheel move.)

We were lucky enough to be able to install our piece in the store window of Reneux, a boutique consignment store in Taos that is one of my favorite places to shop.

Our artist’s statement for the piece is below these videos.

Artist’s Statement for
The Wheel of Fortune window installation:

This pandemic has pulled the veil off our collective illusion of control. As humans, we seem driven by a primal desire for certainty, scrambling every day to either predict the ‘new normal’ or desperately return to the ‘old normal.’ Either way, much energy is being expended on the ancient art of predicting the future.

This installation is an expression of the fragility of emotions behind that desire and is an assertion of ambiguity and possibility as the true ‘normal.’

In the Tarot, the Wheel of Fortune is the card that represents constant change. What goes up must come down. It also represents Karma, what goes around comes around. Life is a mix of good and bad, but no matter what, the wheel never stops turning.

Each ‘pie wedge’ of our version of the Wheel of Fortune is a collaborative drawing/collage, loosely using the ‘exquisite corpse’ approach. We each created a ‘head’, ‘torso’, and ‘feet’ and traded the drawings back and forth as we explored the idea of seeking security in ‘knowing’ the future while struggling with the reality of living in the ambiguity of a pandemic.

Surrounding the wheel are two circles of words, the inner circle are descriptions of emotions and the outer are choices we can make. Within these circles, the Wheel of Fortune continuously turns. What will we choose individually and as a country?

Next to the wheel, we created an oversized collective ‘fortune card’ for us to ‘read’ our shared palm and consider our possibilities. Many of these options relate to climate change which we feel is related to the pandemic we find ourselves in.

The card rests in our block-printed satin fabric with the word ‘sacred’ repeated on it. In front of the card is a tray of protective accoutrements to represent individual spiritual practices and alternative remedies to create health and safety for ourselves as science scrambles for a solution.

The deep breathing & ticking metronome soundtrack that surrounds the installation are about bringing attention to the truth that breath is life…as time ticks endlessly on.

All around our wheel and card, the crows circle and hover. The crow is a powerful symbol that historically represents many things: for us, here, they represent the mystery of creation, alchemy, and transformation.