a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Want to find the Messiah? You’ll Need a QR Code for That.

Posted on: March 15, 2012

Walking through, around, and under R. Justin Stewart’s sculptural installation, “Distorting (a messiah project, 13C),” doesn’t immediately bring to mind the idea of the ‘messiah’—though, as Stewart’s website explains, the “intricate web of fleece, rope, and plastic is a three-dimensional representation of the concept of the messiah, as it existed in the 13th century.” Yet simply looking at the installment and interacting with it are two completely different things. The spring-colored nodes beg to be touched, and when you do you realize they’re made of felt and not hard plastic. Touching them causes neighboring nodes to quiver and vibrate. A gust of wind shakes the installation, even though it’s secured to the ground and ceiling. Nearly all of the nodes have a QR code which, when scanned by a smartphone, tells a story, though perhaps not quite in order.

The installation reminded me of a jungle gym, not the divine, and I wondered how this piece could have any connection to the concept of the Jewish Messiah. I talked with R. Justin Stewart, a self-professed agnostic married to a Jewish woman, about his new installation, on display at Brooklyn’s Invisible Dog Art Center through May 5.  Read the rest of this interview on Jewcy.

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