This glowing, massive tunnel is the gateway to a device that knows only one thing: Deconstructing life at the atomic level. Unfortunately it's so ancient that it has forgotten how to do the reconstruction.

The throat of this machine is actually a piece of huge, walk-in conceptual art by Las Vegas artist Stephen Hendee. Known for working with illuminated foamboard and gaffer tape, Hendee has been constructing his huge glowing shapes for over a decade in museums across the United States. (He even did an installation for Sci-Fi Channel.) Though his work is abstract, it still evokes futuristic citiscapes, spaceships, or escape pods.

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Hendee is tremendously influenced by science fiction and technology, and a lot of the work you see in this gallery suggests a world where everyone has become a brain in a box. Or where the smart boxes have simply taken over completely.

I went to high school with Hendee, and swapped Laurie Anderson albums with him when I was fourteen. Even back then he was making weird art that scared all the suburban kids in Irvine, CA. Perhaps that's because his work is all about the hallucinatory sterility of suburban life, where unidentifiable buildings pulse with information but people are nowhere to be seen. It makes perfect sense that he's wound up in Las Vegas, a city packed with freakishly glowing shapes that make no sense. And the city loves him: One of his recent sculptures, called Monument to the Simulacrum, was commissioned by the city and will remain in Centennial Plaza until the time capsule it contains is opened in 2105.

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Check out more of Stephen Hendee's work on his website.