Deadbeats is an installation that I made for the 15th annual Day of the Dead show “Visions at Twilight” at SOMArts in San Francisco.

The installation consists of a dozen headphone wearing skulls suspended from the ceiling. Each one is watching a video on an iPad (no, not real ones). The videos were shot at now extinct galleries in San Francisco. The headphones (also not real) are meant to look like “beats by Dr. Dre” headphones, but I flipped the “b” logo to make a “d” for “deadbeats”. On the back wall is a video showing a skull that is watching you through his iPad, as if you are on the other side of the screen. Lastly, the installation is streaming live on

All of the videos come from a single projector mounted up high. The projection bounces off mirrors, and the reflections are mapped to the corners of the iPads. It’s a technique that I first used in my “Altar Ego” installation two years ago. Since then, I’ve refined the process a bit, though it is still rather painstaking to align everything.

I also have a large solo show about to open at the Branson School in Marin. Details to follow.

Artist’s statement for the piece:

These are deadbeats (homo rectangulum). You may have encountered them in your neighborhood cafe, a bus, or even your own living room. Once considered a social animal, attending performances and galleries, the deadbeats now spend their days staring at their rectangular appendages. Where they used to buy original art, they now can be seen waiting in line to choose between twelve seasonal headphone colors.

Individually, deadbeats are not dangerous. They will ignore you, as they ignore each other. However, they are an invasive species, disrupting well-established ecosystems, transforming them into cultural wastelands.

The videos they are watching were filmed in eleven recently extinct art and culture spaces in San Francisco (the buttons on top of the headphones indicate where). A twelfth screen is dedicated to my friend Holly Schneider who passed away this year. The deadbeat on the back wall is watching you through his iPad here at SOMArts, a venue on the endangered species list. No doubt predators (ædificentium condominium) would love to move in on this territory.

Want to be a deadbeat? Check out

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