In Case of National Emergency... In Case of National Emergency... In Case of National Emergency... In Case of National Emergency... In Case of National Emergency... In Case of National Emergency...

In Case of National Emergency...

White Clay, Plastic, Watercolor Paper, Bristol Board, Wire, Archival Tape, Acrylic Paint.


War emerged in human society as a ritual expression of natual aggressive intent, much as it is used in the animal world and, as such, was used for purposes of survival. As humanity has civilized, it has increasingly channeled its animal pursuits into ritual, often giving them significance which obscures the animal elegance of the nature which inspired them. This has taken place in conjunction with the practical benefits of civilization which have yielded higher populations in general and particular density of humans in population centers where great numbers have become psychologically isolated even further from nature and the animal, wealth and political power augmenting geography as insulators of individuals and whole groups. With this population growth, war has become at once a more violent grotesque of natural survival instincts while, at the same time, more remote for a great many people. With technology, warriors have consitently attempted with, increasing force, to exploit the shock value of violating the psychological remoteness of population centers, evidenced by the strategic bomber, the nuclear warhead and the terrorist. Ironically, due to the barriers imposed by the technologies and social complexities that make it possible, violence such as this remains either solidly ritualistic or so overwhelming as to transcend all sense of natural aggression. At this point in history, there may possibly be no greater illustration of a society remote from the natural inspirations for war than the United States. The long term response of the American people to the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 is a story of the acceptance of half-measures, on the one hand in Afghanistan and at home, to combat those responsible for the aggression, and the allowance of the expoitation of the situation to suit, by the initiation of the Iraq War and the increasing imposition of power structures upon private lives, the commercial and political ambitions of a tiny segment of the propertied and powerful of the society. An attempt which has proved dubious and costly- but presumably not enough to break the torpor. Instead Americans concern themselves with lapel pins and insipid magnetic exhortations from car trunks to not repeat the misguided sneering and abuse of the generation who remotely confronted the similarly dubious Vietnam War. The work is from a concept described in conversation with David Lucas. The greater part of its form was imagined by him.

Private Collection.

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In Case of National Emergency... In Case of National Emergency... In Case of National Emergency...

Mixed Media

Combining traditional mediums, found objects and unconventional materials, Joe plays, explores, and stretches his relationship to his work. Each object has been synthesized in concept and execution from the ordinary and the evocative into an artifact with a life all its own.

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