Fairfax, Sally & Huse, Brian – Dangerous Game
The Story of the Box
DANGEROUS GAME: Sally K. Fairfax and Brian Huse
We try to start in scheming January. We hope that it will take us many weeks and dinners worth of discussing ideas to find a project for the box. This year was quite simple: Brian’s wife Megan said “I think you guys ought to make a checker board.” That was that. We made a checker board. But between that notion and the finished object were a few peregrinations. First, I thought I would make the board out of glass and Brian would make the checkers out of wood. Turned out I had that backwards. Then we got the idea to make red and blue checkers to comment gently on the current threats to our assumptions about governance: political and civic life has indeed become a dangerous and unpredictable game. But then we got the idea about a whole series of checkers games that invite folks to think about our ground rules in a number of contexts. Dangerous Game has become the first in a series. Currently, White Supremacy, a vile notion indeed, is on view at the Bolinas Museum. Bottom line: it does not work—you cannot play checkers in an all-white world. Other adaptations are in the works.
The joy of the Box Show is that you get to work in a different context than normal. When we get together to work on the box, it pushes, challenges, teaches and opens doors. Plus, we get to support a major institution in our community, and its wonderful art in the schools programs. Bid early; bid often.
Sally: As a professor of natural resource policy, I had to be relatively non-partisan, focused on inquiry. Now retired, I pursue the same issues, with no detachment required. I use the fragility of glass to call attention to the fragility of places I love.
Most particularly, my climate change work is designed to put rising water and melting ice on prominent view in peoples’ daily lives.
Brian: I have been working with wood for most of my life, starting in the garage of my childhood home bothering my father. Over time I found my greatest strength was in building furniture and art pieces out of discarded wood that I find left at the curb by my neighbors. After 30 years in environmental advocacy, I made a left turn and found myself a new career building cabinets and furniture at Berkeley Mills. Still hide bound to using cast off wood, all the material in this year’s entry (other than the pine box) was bound for the chipper. Or a campfire. This year’s box includes maple, jarrah [board], teak and bamboo plywood [drawer].