My creation myth

Written as an artist’s statement for my upcoming exhibition:

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been interested in understanding how things work. It was on a family vacation to Disney World, however, that I learned how useful this knowledge can be, and why it is so important for me to understand it.

It all started when we went on a ride called 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Down, down we went into the depths. We saw ruined cities, lost treasure and fabulous monsters. My head was spinning, thinking of the fabulous technology that they were using to take us so deep below the sea. These must be very strong submarines, and they could drill a tunnel diagonally to reach the sea. But it was a trick! After we finished the ride, my father took me to the side of the ride and showed me that really, we only went a few feet underwater. See? And he pointed out exactly how they made it look like we dived much deeper- over there, they are releasing bubbles to make it seem like we are going under.

At first, I was mad because I had been tricked, but then I came to realize that it didn’t matter. Even though the ride was fake, it was this illusion that made it fun to ride on, and the fact that I was now in on the prank opened up a whole new way of looking at the world to me. Rather than just passively watching the show go on, I could figure out how they convinced us we were going underseas, what the ruins and treasure was really made of, and how the sea monsters were animated. And I learned that actually it takes a lot of planning and hard work to bring such a convincing illusion to life.

Now, whenever I am making something, I understand that there are two parts to what I am doing. First and foremost is the story that I am telling, what I imagine the thing I am creating to be. Remembering my lesson from Disney, I understand that how I made it can be equally interesting, so I take pains to allow the curious to discover what tricks I used. My greatest hope is that they will be inspired to make up their own tricks and bring the things they imagine to life.

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2 Responses to My creation myth

  1. Lee says:

    Hi Matt, Great sentiments. I’m guessing you haven’t posted as much since you’ve been so busy working on this? Wish I wasn’t 2000 miles away or I’d go see it.

  2. mahto says:

    Hey Lee! yeah, i’ve been pretty busy lately, both with the piece, blogging for Make, and all sorts of cool events such as mini Maker Faire’s in MI and RI. I promise I’ll post more here soon!

    Also, thanks :-) . You’re totally welcome to come visit at any time!

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