Ethan Crenson
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Addendum installation  Ethan Crenson
Addendum (installation)
mousetraps, ping pong balls, gluetraps, wood, metal, lights
(shown above installed at P.S. 1)

Addendum has been shown as an installation on several occasions in several variations. The most common version is here described. On the floor of the room are approximately 1200 mousetraps. Each trap is set. Balanced carefully on top of each mousetrap is a single ping pong ball. The ceiling of the room is lined with gluetraps—the type of mousetrap that catches rodents with a sticky substance. If space allows the mousetraps are laid out in a large square with enough room on all four sides for visitors to walk all the way around the installation.

Once the installation is set I relinquish control of it to the public—in other words, I do not "perform" the installation or in any way guard against the possiblility that a visitor to the installation will do so. In most cases a visitor will set off one of the mousetraps causing a massive chain reaction of traps snapping and ping pong balls flying. Many of the ping pong balls become stuck to the gluetraps on the ceiling. After the installation is set off the traps and balls can be swept into a heap roughly the same size as the original layout until it is reset.

Exhibitions of this installation have revealed a great deal about art and social dynamics. When all of the traps are set and there are many visitors to the gallery the installation seems to amplify certain characteristics in each visitor. Cautious people become more cautious. People with voyeuristic tendencies will watch the crowd for the person who seems likely to interact with the piece. People with impulse control problems are very likely to be the ones to set the piece off. The springing of the installation often acts as a "releaser cue" to other viewers. After one visitor sets off the installation, other visitors to the exhibition usually feel that it is acceptable to interact with the piece. They then pick up stray ping pong balls and throw them at the unsprung traps.