In this interactive laser-disc based work the viewer pushes a protruding steel bar to rotate a column-mounted monitor that in turn animates the movement of the imagery on its screen. This requires a strong physical effort from the viewer. By turning the monitor in one direction the viewer rotates a virtual millstone, and grinds grain into flour. By pushing it in the other direction the viewer interactively riffles through a large number of images that define many of the major worldwide social uprisings and revolutions over the last two hundred years. These images are digitally processed collages made from documentary photographic sources—they pass in rapid succession during one single revolution of the monitor, forcing the viewer to pause to view a particular incident.
The viewer's body, straining with effort, is an essential component of the formal, conceptual and functional figuration of this sculpture. Two expenditures of energy are conjoined—actual and metaphoric—and the viewer revolves and is revolved in the orbit of this mundane wheel of mediated revolutions.
This work derives from a much larger multimedia project titled Imaginary Museum of Revolutions (1988) that was proposed by Tjebbe van Tijen and Jeffrey Shaw for the Bicentennial of the French Revolution at La Villette in Paris. The coup in Romania in 1989 brought the world into the era of mediated revolutions, and the modernist wheel of changes became a televised simulacrum. This created a new situation where the real is relocated onto a virtual proscenium of passions, hopes and struggle.