The piece, an item designed to protect and aid vision, has been debased in a myriad of ways, and the artist uses every means at his disposal to emphasize its pitiful condition. The most obvious device is the deliberate destruction of the lenses–their shattered state is clearly an indication of the subject’s current irrelevance. The artist reinforces this technique by leaving the lens fragments inside their respective frames as a bitter reminder of a time when the subject was able to fulfill its purpose.
Just as important as the trodden lenses, however, is the surrounding canvas. If the lens fragments symbolize the subject’s unfulfilled potential, the decision to set the piece in pavement highlights its resulting insignificance. The lack of contrast between the subject and canvas–notice how some components fade into the background–ensures that the piece would be almost invisible to passers-by, except for the outlining frames.
This exhibit is on display in Philadelphia, at 16th and Fairmount.