"We Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust” is a public sculpture created by Los Angeles-based artist collective Finishing School, in collaboration with artists Nadia Afghani and Matt Fisher. The sculpture was installed at Occidental College from March 14 through May 9, 2014.
"We Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust" was a participatory sculpture that employed the fabrication of a full size replica of a MQ-1B Predator drone aircraft. Over two hundred people assisted Finishing School and collaborators to hand-finish the drone with an age-old application method applying architectural-grade mud to the surface of the cnc'd substrate.
Download the project essay by Matt Fisher, or view additional images of the installation weekend.
With this project, Finishing School continues to explore its ability to make unwieldy political issues tangibly personal. For over ten years the collective has employed various strategies to create environments in which a viewer/participant voluntarily enters into a relationship (usually an uncomfortable one) with an idea that has previously been ungainly to the point of being difficult to navigate. At first glance the projects can appear to be light, as the collective generally uses an element of humor to disarm its audiences. Topics spotlighted by their work have ranged from corporate and government impacts on individual freedoms, to interpersonal hierarchies, and now to our relationship with the fastest growing new technology being exercised for civilian and military use.
About the Artists
Finishing School is a socially-engaged artist collective that explores an expansive range of subject and media territories. The collective has 5 members who represent a broad range of skills. Finishing School produces interdisciplinary actions, installations, workshops, design, studio art, performance, and new media. They have presented work throughout the United States and internationally. Finishing School was established in 2001 and is based in Los Angeles, California.
Matt Fisher is an artist and writer living in Oakland, California. His studio practice interrogates intersections of analytical abstraction and identity politics. Trained in Southern California, he moved to New York just before 9/11 and spent a decade there before relocating to the Bay Area in 2011. He writes regularly on contemporary art for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and ARTnews.
Nadia Afghani is a Los Angeles-based conceptual artist, whose work investigates the parameters of subject versus object, the mechanics of language, and the ambiguity of meaning and understanding. She received a BA in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach and a MFA in Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM) from Massachusetts College of Art and Design.