DENNIS OPPENHEIM ESTATE
Wishing Well. 1973. Conveyor belt, submerged pan, with water, pennies, soundtrack, tape player, external speakers. 4 x 2 X 12
Soundtrack: "I want to be able to sink downward... I wish I could do this... I want this well to act in favor of this... I wish these pennies could act as sparks, to charge the eventuality of this. I know where I want to stand. I know the location to be in this city, nearby. I’ll stand there as often as I can It’s not far away. My shoulder blades will be pressing against a building, a thick wall. I’ll be looking out towards the street. The heels of my shoes will be pressed against the concrete and planted firmly on the sidewalk. It’s not as if this material begins to soften or relax, but the first sensation is similar to that. I can feel the pavement begin to surround the soles of my shoes. At the same time, my shoulder blades have gone at least one inch back, as my feet are further engulfed by the concrete. I can feel my shoulders dragging downwards, as they sink deeper into the wall. My feet are now in the pavement, not quite up to the beginning of my ankles. At this point I gently rest my head back toward the wall. As I do this the lower part of my back begins to touch the surface. My shoulders are sinking further back. The ground is well over my ankles now. I know the soles of my shoes are touching the dirt surface, four inches below the concrete slab. My body now distinguishes between the materials encroaching upon it. the sidewalk slab becomes a template passing up my leg- when it reaches my knee caps- my feet have easily adjusted to the dirt around them, my legs are surrounded, my shoulders and much of my head have passed through the surface. I can feel the pressure moving around to the front of the body, my neck is practically engulfed now, only my chin remains. My thighs are well into the ground, my feet passing through different forms of rock and gravel, dampness. My chest and stomach become the only visible portions, as the sidewalk surface is now level with my waist. My back is arched, my head well into the wall and now passing through a series of steel members. Only a small part of my stomach remains, acting as a connector between the wall and ground. My upper extremities are continuing to sink downwards even though I have been pressing backward. I am now through this surface, continuing in an almost vertical direction. My back is straight, arms against my sides. the material surrounding me feels of a consistent nature... I don’t remember it changing as I continue in this direction."