new-york

Scott Billingsley

Whitney Museum of American Art

Scott Billingsly’s piece Induction also needs to be plugged in. After a long walk to the Whitney downtown workroom and gallery in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, I was standing in front of this plasterboard box the size of a shower stall. I waited for a wire coming out of it to be hooked up to a corroded old transformer in a corner of the room. This clicked on. Noiseless; no hum. A coil inside, I was told, had been magnetized. I climbed up the ladder on one side of the box. This was thin, like the ladders running up water storage tanks are thin in proportion to the tank. Descending inside the thing I thought of that movie moment when James Bond shoves Doctor No into the heavy water surrounding the villain’s nuclear pile, and the way No’s artificial hand claws futilely for a purchase as he sinks. Inside Induction, I stared at the widely spaced red wires running a spiral up the side

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