Robin Collyer

We Can Build New Belief Systems

1976
In titling this sculpture, Collyer drew upon a statement by Ed Mitchell, the American astronaut known for his participation aboard the Apollo 14 moon mission in 1971. "We Can Build New Belief Systems" uses mechanical means to produce simple movement transformed into an event. Here, the fan on the floor propels the windmill, which turns at the same speed as the aluminum cross on the wall, creating a direct relationship between the three objects. While the accompanying quotation by Mitchell proposes the possibility of society's transformation, Collyer's seemingly pointless configuration of machines is at odds with the space-age technology in which the astronaut has faith.
Title
We Can Build New Belief Systems
Date
1976
Medium
Sculpture
Materials
electric fan, aluminum windmill, and aluminum cross mounted on motor
Dimensions
151.1 x 92.1 x 406.4 cm installed
Nationality
Canadian
Credit line
Purchased 1979
Accession number
23271