Luke Blackstone (in collaboration with Carole Itter and Al Neil)

Where the Streets are Paved with Gold

pump organ, factory wheel, found objects, radios, music wire, pennies, washing machine motor, electronic devices
30 ft. X 10 ft. X 8 ft. (plus peripherals)
A motor assembly from a derelict washing machine drives a paper belt, made from the pages of a Canadian history book, which slowly rotates a wooden factory wheel. Inside the wheel are steel strings, which are connected to a contact microphone. Pennies, with holes drilled in their centers, are able to slide along the strings as the wheel rotates, and the microphone picks up the sound that is produced. A radio transmitter, which is mounted on the wheel, transmits this sound to 3 radio receivers that are partially buried amongst the objects laid out on the floor. An audiotape plays a version of “O Canada”, modified and played by Al Neil. This installation was a tribute to those immigrants of Canada who arrived to Vancouver expecting a wealthier life than that which they left, but found that in reality, the gold that they were told about was nothing more than cheap paint. This piece was first shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1991, and sold to the Canada Council Art Bank later that year. Recently, this work was shown at the Musee de Civilization in Quebec City from February, 2005 to January, 2006.