Dana Karwas 

In a Heartbeat
March 27 - May 22, 2021

In a Heartbeat examines moments, often unconscious gestures, that nevertheless might be pivotal moments in someone’s life, through three sculptural works: Counter-Curve, Orbital Axis, andArc of Near. The exhibition takes its inspiration from The Princess Steel, a piece of speculative fiction by the writer and sociologist W.E.B Du Bois, who proposed a way to inspect the arc of civilization created using 200 years of data made up of “everyday facts of life.” Initially foiled by all of the “curves” and “curious counter-curves” of human deeds the protagonist, Professor Johnson, reveals that he has created an invention capable of integrating small moments into what he calls “the Great Near,” an accumulation of all the normally invisible experiences of a person’s life. Any mundane moment can be imbued with dread; what heart-stopping catastrophe might await? Alternately, without context, any single moment or simple gesture is slight and can be perceived to mean very little—an adult reaching into a purse to find their keys or a child stretching for cookies above a stove. Our assumptions while observing such moments can be maddening as our minds plot out “curious counter-curves” that can be as fantastical as one of Du Bois’s stories, an immeasurable inflection point where a whole life can be glimpsed. Karwas’ pedagogy and personal research involves investigating these modes of perception. 

Thank you Lisa Dent and Artspace New Haven, Larry Wilen at the Yale CEID for engineering and fabrication help with Arc of Near, Rishab
Jain and Nathan Burnell from the Yale School of Architecture for helping me wrangle orbital axis into a 3D print, Linda Ross Art Studio for glass fabrication, Classic Welding for the steel frame, Alex Zafiris for the feedback and writing, and my friends and family members that have helped this show become a reality!