Mole Light: God is truth and light his shadow

Rubber, cardboard, fluorescent lights, C-prints, 2010
An installation and print project

by Gregory Sholette for PLATO’S CAVE, Eidia House, Williamsburg Brooklyn

Under a bright, hot August sun ultra-nationalist telegogue Glenn Beck paces the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His amplified voice
booms to the enraptured crowd about the necessity of collectively turning back to god. “For too long, this country has wandered in darkness.” Beck adds that the “scars” of the past must be forgotten if we hope to restore the honor of the country. I am reminded of
the banal, bureaucratic character Marcello Clerici who, in Bertolucci’s 1970 film The Conformist (Il conformista), dutifully
assassinates his former philosophy professor in an attempt to establish himself within the conventions of 1930s fascist Italy. In a key
scene Clerici visits the office of Professor Quadri who is now exiled in Paris and an outspoken anti-fascist. Recalling the professor’s
powerful lecture about Plato’s allegory of the cave the assassin comments: “Do you remember when you entered the lecture hall they
had to close the shutters? In all these years do you know what stays in my memory? Your voice.”

Clerici, Beck, and by extension the radical conformists of the Tea Party may seek to assassinate history by re-interpreting the archive. Nonetheless, the multifarious surplus of memory now spilling defiantly from its crypt is irrepressible. The installation Mole Light
consists of an “inside-out” model of Plato’s cave made out of fluorescent light fixtures, cardboard, and rubber, as well as a series of
c-print scroll “drawings” in which Plato, Adorno, Deleuze, the painter Courbet, and the Disney dwarf Grumpy pontificate and snarl
about our present crisis as they wander shadowed within the caverns of “god’s light.” But it is Karl Marx who gets the final word.
Speaking of the longue durée of history from below in which real change is gradually realized the worldly philosopher exclaims:
“Well burrowed, old mole!”