Walking across the Bayonne Bridge, struggling with my objects


“Mary Mattingly grapples with her personal footprint in her “House and Universe” series, which is both performative and documentary. She began by cataloguing her personal possessions and tracing their journey from raw materials all the way through the global supply chain that brought them into her life. She then bound them with twine into “boulders” and commenced a series of performances, including a symbolic walk across the Bayonne Bridge.

From the artist’s log: “05.15.13: Walking across the Bayonne Bridge, struggling with my objects. The permit was just approved to increase the height of the Bayonne Bridge so that the largest container ships can pass underneath with ease, eliminating a previous barrier to the staggering amount of objects that could be brought into Port Newark, servicing the entire East Coast through the Midwest, USA. The walk was a celebration of the bridge as it is, a nuisance for the shipping industry and a natural slowing of the NY/NJ economy and ports. At each place we were either monitored or confronted and told to leave the site, as this large disk-like shape of objects contained the unknown. It spoke to the curiosity and interest of the sculpture, to me, that we did not get shut down until we were usually done, with police and Homeland Security as onlookers. The intense struggle of bringing the large sculpture over the bridge was painful.

A minute pain to that felt the world over, from the over-extraction of the earth, to the working conditions of the makers, to the chemicals that enter the air and water affecting all of us. This sculpture contains the stuff wars are started over. How can I be complacent? How can I expect it to not be painful to carry these things, laden with hurt, a 1/2 mile uphill with a police escort?”

Learn more about this body of work in this video and this interview with Mary Mattingly.”