In SLOTS, conventional slot machine symbols are augmented with iconic depictions of human figures from the history of Western art. When a spin of the machine produces a winning combination, the “payout” is an interlude featuring one of various quotations. Textual sources include Andrei Tarkovsky, William Butler Yeats, a slot machine patent application, and Genesis chapter 28 — in which Jacob dreams of a ladder to heaven and a divine promise of prosperity.
The projection of slot machine imagery onto a set of stairs juxtaposes the repetitive, contained futility of the gambling device with the functional, hierarchical structure of the stairway. Among the questions raised: Is the art world a set of steps that the artist can credibly climb to achieve success and significance, or just a game of chance, in which arbitrary forces hold sway, and everything is rigged?
SLOTS was first presented as a site-specific installation in 2012 at Radiator Gallery in Long Island City, Queens, New York. A freestanding version was presented in 2014 at the Governors Island Art Fair.