The Shrine of the American Dream
a collaborative project with Brooke Marcy and Chris Rackley
The Shrine of the American Dream is an installation that explores the ideal proposed in the American Dream, namely that everyone can achieve prosperity. The Shrine incorporates various forms of visual expression to display a critical interpretation of that ideal. It is a collaborative piece that juxtaposes two visible expressions of the American Dream: home ownership and the concept of unique invention as a means to wealth. The project consists of transferring drawings of product concepts from 300 U.S. patent files on wood extracted from houses being demolished, repaired, or abandoned. Dating back to the early nineteenth century, these diagrams illustrate and explain the manifestation of the invention, though none of them were realized. The installation presents itself as an abundant comic with dreamlike heroes or as a pantheon of fruitless aspirations and dreams. It exposes societal fears, imaginative explorations of new landscapes, and genuine expressions of hope. The Shrine of the American Dream prompts reflection on the significance and repercussions of beliefs that influence the movement of millions of people; it is a repository of visual symbols representing personal reinvention and unfettered possibility.