Doug Beube
The Chair of Censorship

1988
found Russian book, ice, wood, screws, rope, chain
72 x 36 x 32 in.
A Russian text is locked in time—censored—frozen inside a block of ice outdoors in Minnesota from late fall to early spring in the final years of the Cold War. As the temperatures rise, the ice thaws until the book is fully revealed. The once forbidden or condemned text is thus gradually made available. The process is a slow one, much like the way individuals in a society may over time “warm to” ideas that were once threatening or misunderstood. But whether the ice takes a couple of hours or months to melt is immaterial in this site-specific installation; the object is to observe the thaw, at whatever pace, and to find the released book eventually suspended in the center of the chair. Curiously, the Berlin Wall fell approximately six months after this installation was dismantled.

Carleton College,
Northfield, Minnesota
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