Michael Robert Rutledge, Lock Groove, 2017
The Lock Groove is the last cut on a side of a vinyl record. It is a moment of recorded silence pressed into the vinyl in a loop. It is there to prevent the needle from sliding off onto the label; protecting the vinyl, protecting the needle, protecting anybody nearby from the awful sound of the needle on paper. The groove will play silence infinitely, or until someone comes along and stops the loop.
In Lock Groove, I use familiar materials to play out scenes of locked stasis. I build looped systems that persist infinitely while failing to benefit or advance any member of the system. This exercise articulates inadequacies in systems of care. Contrived scenes designed as metaphoric tools. In this exercise, I am eschewing optimism and lightness. I push toward weight and absurdity. I’ve used concrete, steel, therapy lights, electrical cords, plant timers, houseplants, synthesized building materials – acrylic, MDF, Laminate, tapes and dictaphones; materials that have familiarity and presence. Together, these elements form protected systems that perpetually repeat, but there is always a looming breakdown. Like the last moment of silence on a record, they continue toward failure or until they are stopped.