Sisyphus Wears a Tie Performance Duration 8 hours Location: Pennypack Park Material: Iced brackish water from the Delaware Bay, button-up collar shirt, tie, music by Patsy Kline Video: 21m 07s 2020
Pennypack Park— with Pennypack meaning deep or slow water in the Lenape language— is a patch of green nestled in an industrial hub of absurdity. Located within two square blocks of this public park on the Delaware River in NE Philadelphia is a prison, a bird sanctuary, a firing range, and the Metal Bank Superfund site. Located on historic Lenapehoking(Lenape land), the converging history, industrial complexes, and beauty contained in this public place is confounding. What is the meaning of this?
Brackish water collected from the estuary of the Delaware River was frozen into a 400 pound block of ice and transported upstream to Pennypack Park. Complicit and passive, a “pencil pusher” dressed in a button up shirt and tie, pushes the block of ice to expedite its melting. Reaching his physical and emotional limit, he knows not why he works, but relentlessly continues through the torment anyways.
Rooted in the absurdity and meaninglessness of the labor involved, Sisyphus Wears a Tie is a durational exercise in drudgery, futility, and complicity. It explores the myth of progress and questions American pride in a total work culture. What results from this relentlessness?
Special Thanks to Drew Michelini for his support and camera work and to Peter Flavin for freezing the ice.