Projects & Publications:
Allan McCollum & Matt Mullican
In 2004, the gallery published Your Fate, a collaborative project by Matt Mullican and Allan McCollum. Your Fate is a system for answering unanswerable questions, or perhaps divining your future.
A unique collection of symbols were created by the artists and turned into a set of 25 specially imprinted dice. The dice are to be thrown and the future of the thrower interpreted with the aid of an accompanying manual.
When Your Fate was exhibited at the gallery,
it was accompanied by three game tables for casting readings, framed drawings of the symbols and a large-scale model for a future die that would incorporate all the symbols
into one object.
Your Fate, 2004
Set of 25 dice and Your Fate book
Edition of 100 signed copies
Your Fate, 2004
Wood table with three possible felt inserts
24 x 24 x 37 inches
Your Fate, 2004
Framed sets of 24 symbols
Pencil on paper
8 x 8 inches each
Signed, titled and dated on the reverse
Edition of 10
McCollum writes about this collaboration:
"Most of us have our interior pictures of the world mapped in a sketchy, slapdash way, and we allow the gaps in our understanding to be ignored, glossed over, or filled in by others whom we imagine to have greater expertise. As conditions can change, our worldviews can change, often from day to day: faith is broken, dreams are shattered, luck rewards, experience teaches. If this haphazard process could be made visible, what might it look like? One way to picture it would be to survey Matt's work from the last three
"For Matt, the process itself of constantly reordering the sense of one's world is crucial -- even more important to him, I sometimes feel, than the production of art objects. When he suggested we collaborate on a project, it occurred to me that we might utilize my more materialist inclination to invent some sort of "finished product" that could help one rework the shape of one's worldview as a matter of course: an oracle, or a divination tool. After all, isn't every good artwork an amalgamation of signs pointing to both the past and the future, and capable of reconfiguring it's meaning with each successive engagement?
"Matt has always depicted his cosmology in diagrammatic schemes and pictograms, so the vocabulary was already there for us; all we needed to do was create a system that worked. First, we pooled our resources and assembled a temporary pastiche of existing divination techniques: rune stones, tarot cards, the I Ching: we considered everything from using computers to using a rock in a tin can with yes on one side and no on the other. Matt then reworked these bits and pieces using the generic signs and logos we see everywhere in contemporary life, in the way he always does in his work, and expanded their meanings into universal categories."
Mullican adds to this:
Allan thought it would be interesting if we invented a divination device, something to tell the future with. This is not something I would have done on my own due to the heebie-jeebies element of fortune-telling and its relationship to my own cosmology and my work with hypnosis. But since it came from Allan it gave me permission to make such a thing. Allan and I have been interested in psychic phenomena for as long as we have known each other, and wondering how it plays into peoples' knowledge of the world is important to us both. I also liked the game aspect. My work has referred to games for over twenty years but this is the first game that I have helped to invent."
An important part of the "Your Fate," installation, are the three dice tables created by Mullican and McCollum for this exhibition. Based on traditional tables for the throwing of dice, each of these three tables is configured with a different arrangement of panels covered with colored felt. In Mullican's cosmology, colors represent specific interpretive spaces, and in the context of "Your Fate," the colors allow an additional layer to a reading of the dice.
Mullican explains the interpretation of the colors as follows:
"The First table is yellow. Yellow represents the framed world, the context, the here and now, the immediate context, your consiciousness.
"The second table is yellow in the center surrounded by blue. Blue is the world unframed, all that you are not aware of, the street.
"The third table is yellow in the center surrounded by red, green, blue and black. Red represents the subject or subjectivity, the sign in your mind. Black is language, it exists primarily only as a sign. Green is materiality, the elements.