Paul Ramírez Jonas
Artist in the Public Realm

Ventriloquists, 2013



    MATERIALS:  Cork, pushpins, notes contributed by the public.

    The bust of historical figure is one of the classic forms for a monument. Ventriloquist is a monument that subverts that form by deliberately obscuring the identity of the figure through angular cuts to its face. Most monuments are made of permanent materials, and are often out of reach - in this way they inscribe the public space permanently. Ventriloquist welcomes the viewer’s inscription. It is made of cork instead of stone and bronze. It is covered in pushpins to enable the pinning of messages. The sides of the pedestal and the planes created by cutting the face of the figure become public bulleting boards: pliable, welcoming, and capable of absorbing any number of messages. Ultimately, Ventriloquists proposes that the public voice does not have to be permanent and singular; but that it can instead reflect (through materials, form and the mode of interaction), the fragility, impermanence and plurality of our voices.