Coney Night Maze is a complex sculptural installation that takes inspiration from the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island. I was drawn to the area underneath the ride and the maze, accrued over time, of layered fences, gates, ramps, and barriers nestled among the I-beams and columns. In the work, two small booths, lit from within, inhabit corridors of fencing. An ascending track vanishes into the darkness and then appears again, descending in the distance to skim the edge of the rough rock wall, studded with bolts, straps, and other reinforcements, that runs the 27-foot length of the work. From time to time, a car is faintly heard traveling on a distant track.
Coney Night Maze represents thirteen years of labor under the shadow of 9/11 and in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which washed away a portion of the Cyclone. The piece continues my exploration of the underworld, but with a new conclusion. The maze—with its dead ends, locked gates, and mute signs providing no words of direction—at first creates a sense of dislocation, confusion, or a feeling of being caught. The two booths stand witness but give no aid. How does one escape? How does one reach the track and its promise of a ride? The peeled-back fence, leading to the interior of the work, suggests that one can abandon the maze entirely and make a new way, a new entrance. Only then can one reach the track and be lifted up and out, out past the ancient rock wall that marks deep geologic time, out and up through darkness into the night sky, the Milky Way, the stars, deep space, eternity.
Photo Credit: Peter Mauss/ESTO