dead reckoning

Dead Reckoning, 2010. toy boats, wood, rope. 120″ x 60″, height variable.

dead reckoning, n.

  1. A method of estimating the position of an aircraft or a ship without astronomical observations, as by applying to a previously determined position the course and distance traveled since.
  2. Predictive calculation based on inference; guesswork.

Dead Reckoning is a sculptural homage to explorer Zheng He. This installation, a flotilla of toy boats hung from the ceiling to create an artificial horizon line, captures the dichotomies in Zheng He’s legacy as hyper-masculine eunuch, and the flip of historical global power bases. The artist is particularly interested in the distortion of inherited cultural narratives, slippage between historical fact and the generation of myth becomes fertile territory for Mao.