Patrick Holbrook :: <Back |Main| Next>

Please Spin the Prayer Wheel (Or the Record)
Like a Prayer
45 by Madonna, Record Player, Amplifier, Cords, Steel, Plywood, Car Part, Bolts. 2001
Table with prayer wheel and record player Woman spinning prayer wheel
I am interested in the reconciliation and short circuiting of binary oppositions in cultural codes such as high and low, black and white, and East and West. In the piece Please Spin the Prayer Wheel, I am thinking about Madonna and her song, Like a Prayer. It is my hope that my audience will think about the title; it suggests comparative analysis (Of course, it may be redundant, because Madonna has already suggested one). The prayer wheel and the record player are similar objects. Religion and pop culture are inexorably intertwined. High art has replaced religion for some, and for others, rock-and-roll has become their new religion. Religious practices usually have much audience interaction, from singing to praying. It's interesting to me to think about interactivity in something as traditional as religion, because contemporary art audiences think of interactivity as something challenging and new in the art context. Please Spin the Prayer Wheel became a sort of fantasy fulfillment piece, as the audience was able to play with the record like a DJ. Almost nobody has a record player in 2002, with the exception of the glamorous DJ figure. I thought it was very interesting to see that for some people the title on the record was very important and for others it wasn't. For me, this aspect spoke to issues about the audience consisting of sub cultures, as well as the audience as cultural critic. The way the prayer wheel spins is so effortless, the speed is regulated by the forces of nature. The record player, on the other hand, is very different. To hear the song as we know it, the record must spin at an exact speed. Viewers tried to accomplish this with no success, but a new way to experience the song came about.