UNIX Gallery proudly presents "To The Victor Belongs The Spoils" by artist Jonathan Paul, an immersive installation exploring the conflicting emotions that arise in competition.
It is human nature to choose sides. All of us do it all of the time. We choose: between good guys and bad guys; between those with white hats and those with black hats; between Americans and everybody else; between Republicans and Democrats; between the Moral Majority and the Immoral Minority; and between the Eagles and the Patriots. Or, as Dr. Seuss might say, between Star-Bellied Sneetches and Plain-Bellied Sneetches. Of course, let’s not forget the sides that religion is responsible for creating, or the borders that we have drawn across the land.
"To The Victor Belongs The Spoils" is an abstract representation of human competitiveness and competition. Imagine yourself observing a ritual from another time and another realm. You enter a room with two different colors, two different shapes, two different flags, and one species wearing two different uniforms. A setting that appears to be two teams in an ambiguous competition. What you see is a game without end and without purpose.
Two goats in colorful uniforms wander throughout the gallery. Goats are intelligent and playful but impulsive, unpredictable, and devious, like humans they evoke a sense of independence. Four sculptures resembling piñatas hang from the ceilings throughout the space like adorned prizes. Strawberries attached to strings hang from each of the sculptures.
Platforms under each sculpture allow the goat to attempt to forage the strawberries. As the string of strawberries is pulled, the bottom of the piñata opens and red flower petals shower the goat symbolizing the victory. Patterns on the walls and floor symbolize the court in which the game is played. Two crests on opposite walls mimic the team uniforms. Upon entry to the court, audience members are asked to take sides and then handed a flag symbolizing their choice.
The tussle between the yellow and the pink, the stripes and the squares, the subject and the object, the angel and the ape, as various generations have described it, is as old as there are written records. The cultures we construct are shaped by human nature. For the simple reason that neither side holds the winning cards, and the two natures forever wrestle for power and prestige.