Escape Plan

In 1966, Andy Dufresne escaped from Shawshank prison. All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub. I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through the wall with it. Old Andy did it in less than twenty. Oh, Andy loved geology. I imagine it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, million years of mountain building there. Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes really, pressure, and time. That, and a big goddamn poster. Like I said, in prison a man will do most anything to keep his mind occupied. Turns out Andy’s favorite hobby was totin’ his wall out into the exercise yard, a handful at a time.
—-The Shawshank Redemption

The other day, after the really cool bike ride from the Dallas Contemporary, we all returned and hung out for a while, looking at the exhibits. There was some really good stuff… really good.

One special exhibit, off to one side, was Acceleration – a set from 35 artists run out to honor the 35th anniversary of the space. Walking through it, I came around a corner, looked at a sheetrock wall, and found one in particular that really spoke to me.

It was one of the coolest pieces of art/sculpture/exhibition I’ve ever seen.

A simple work by Bradly Brown, named “Escape Plan.” It was a heavy, sharp compass, mounted against the wall. An unseen force turned the compass slowly, and the sharp steel point was slowly digging its way through the wall.

"Escape Plan" by Bradly Brown, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas

“Escape Plan” by Bradly Brown, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas

The circle cut into the wall displayed a ragged edge where the spike had torn through the outer paper layer. When I looked closely, I could see that it had dug deep, almost through the drywall, and was digging deeper.’

"Escape Plan" by Bradly Brown, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas

“Escape Plan” by Bradly Brown, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas

I watched it going round and round, and talked to some other folks that walked up. I said, “it must have some sort of mechanism mounted inside the wall.”

Then, on a whim, I walked around until I reached the opposite side of the wall and was surprised when, there, I found the other end – the business end – an electric motor slowly turning a shaft that pierced the barrier – obviously turning the compass on the other side. It was set up as another part… a hidden part of the art. It would have been interesting to find the motor first – to see it moving and try to figure out what it was doing. You would never be able to guess.

The back side of "Escape Plan" by Bradly Brown, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas

The back side of “Escape Plan” by Bradly Brown, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas

I looked closely and saw that it was spring mounted – I assume pulling the mechanism through the wall… eventually.

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