My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?


Time-based installation

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?  uses the form of water torture as a physical metaphor for familial resentment. The water will slowly drip down from the shallow tank onto a soap that is supported by horizontal panels. The panels themselves keep a small gap apart from one another that would allow a thread of string to go through. One end of the string is looped onto the soap, the other end is tied into a rock. The water will dissolve the soap overtime. Eventually, the weight of the rock will snap the soap and smash into the mirror on the floor.



The water torture that is referenced in this piece is commonly known as the Chinese water torture, although there have been different theories about the origin of the name. For one, the name may have been given by Harry Houdini in his featured escape performance, “Chinese Water Torture Cell” in Berlin at Circus Busch, Sept 13, 1910. Another theory postulates that Hippolytus de Marsiliis documented the torture form in 15th Century Bologna, Italy. The water torture is carried out via dripping water consistently on a victim’s forehead while the victim’s body is immobilized on fixtures. Under such conditions, over time, the victim will invariably go insane. The water torture is often confused with the Shower Bath torture that was once used in Sing Sing prison, NY.  

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