Beguiled in the Wilderness of Mirrors
This sculpture focuses on the American intelligence community’s historic failures to predict or alert political leaders about geopolitical events facing this country. Five concentric circles of events indelibly engraved into a black granite disc trace this tale of consequential intelligence failures. Starting with Pearl Harbor in the outer circle and terminating with a group of contemporary geopolitical incidents near the center, each crisis maps over time the fraught legacy of injudicious decisions that has fostered regional instabilities, unnecessary interventions, failed wars, and near cataclysmic crises, to name a few. These orbital rings gradually tighten around a highly polished reflective sphere that mirrors back a distorted image of viewers and the world around them.
A double metaphor is embedded in the sculpture that serves simultaneously as a schematic for the detonation system of an atomic bomb and a symbolic representation of the impaired mindset of intelligence analysts. In this dual construct, the reflective hemisphere echoes a spherical nuclear trigger or “pit.” When the “rings of intelligence failures” metaphorically compress the pit they trigger a nuclear chain reaction. In the second construct, the warped reflections in the sculpture’s sphere parallel the inherent mirror-image biases and decision making of our intelligence and political leaders. Beguiled by their own opinions, believers are left to wander in a wilderness of mirrors that cast an inaccurate representation of reality, promoting instead precarious wishful thinking.