Mass Rescue, 2006

Cast bronze rescuers swarm an antique balance beam scale.  The scale’s timeline records dates of various disasters in American history.  A logbook provides details of the event and number of casualties associated with each date stamped into the timeline.  Mass Rescue was first conceived in early 2002 when I ran across a set of small plastic figurines labeled “American Heroes” in a Pittsburgh party favor store. Of the assortment of firemen and policemen, it was the fireman rescuing someone that I found to be curious imagery for a plaything. Around the same time, I acquired the large balance beam scale from an abandoned steel mill. It clearly was intended to weigh something heavy. The relics scattered throughout the mill recalled the actions and lives of the individuals who worked there in the same way that the tiny figurine makes reference to anonymous individual tragedy. Mass Rescuecombines the figurine, the scale, and a timeline of historical disaster as a means of considering the weight of human life through time.