I’d like to introduce you to artist Timothy C. Flood, who lives and works and sculpts in Denver, Colorado.
I don’t know about you, but I feel inspired by art like that of Timothy C. Flood which sculpts consciousness and even perception of ourselves as social creatures. Timothy attended University of Colorado at Denver, at first as a photo major and graduating as a sculpture major in 2008. His artwork is often interactive, such as self-playing cellos that automatically play faster depending on the proximity of the viewer to the piece, or a piece made from a piano which is played by handles on pulley systems dispersed across the ceiling of a room (see photos).
Flood’s sculpture pieces have all encapsulated a tremendous spirit of curiosity and thoughtfulness in regards to the meaning of being human. His work sparks in me feelings of compassion and empathy for my fellow souls that I share time and space with, but with an added dash of playfulness that reminds me of how easy it was to make friends with a strange kid at a playground when I was a child.
Flood’s latest art project is titled Stranger Reduction Zone. Stranger Reduction Zone is an interactive sculpture that invites strangers to shake hands and greet each other (see the short and sweet video on how it works!). The piece also offers recordings, generously donated from Rosetta Stone’s language archives, as suggestions and options to greet another in different languages. This sculpture has now been accepted into the 15th annual Colorado Springs Art in the Streets exhibition as well as invited to stand in front of the Denver County Fair entrance this summer, but I think this piece should be on street corners all over the world! Imagine how global social consciousness might be affected if we were all invited to play together, indiscriminately, just for a couple minutes even! The habit of thinking fearful thoughts about strangers inhibits our ability to co-exist, but a simple concept and a fun piece of sculptural art contains the power to entice us to question old habits. Timothy C. Flood is running a fundraiser to afford the materials required for the Stranger Reduction Zone’s construction and for a meager $3 donation you can receive a hand written postcard with the Stranger Reduction Zone sign on the front.
The way this public sculpture piece playfully confronts an unhealthy growing perception of hostility and phobia of strangers who you share the street with really speaks to me about our times. We have the ability to cut down on the fear and paranoia about each other. Times will likely get harder as we struggle to milk our waning resources and people will find that they need each other more than they realized. We need each other for more than just resources. We need each other to feel a sense of connection which we as humans originally evolved with in large social groups. Wouldn’t it be nice to make new friends as easily as one might have as a child, before the learned fears and judgement became overgrown? I look forward to meeting new people and reducing the amount of strangers in my life! Hope to see you at the Stranger Reduction Zone!