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Controller Of The Universe

This is a Controller of the Universe. It was created by Damián Ortega.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from The FLAG Art Foundation as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated 2007. Its medium is found tools and wire.

Damián Ortega’s Controller of the Universe is a frozen explosion of hand tools hovering in an almost dreamlike state. These saws, planes, and axes suggest alternative ways to look at tools, in the hope that the experience will transform the visitor’s own ideas about what tools are and mean. Tools can destroy as easily as they can help construct. They extend our body’s abilities and come between us and our direct experience of the action. Ortega explores such dualities in Controller of the Universe. The installation appears threatening at its perimeter, but by way of a cruciform path the artist invites the visitor to experience the optimal viewpoint at the center. The placement of the piece in the exhibition—on axis with "live" images of a pulsating Sun that is part of a separate installation—underscores this perceived control of our universe, while the distant ball of fire reminds us so potently that this is far from the truth. We can tame it at times, use it to help us survive and endure and to enhance our lives in many ways, but we will never control it—even with a world of tools at our fingertips.

It is credited Collection of Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, New York, Courtesy of the FLAG Art Foundation.

Our curators have highlighted 15 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 285 x 406 x 455 cm (9 ft. 4 in. x 13 ft. 4 in. x 14 ft. 11 in.)

We have 1 video that features Controller Of The Universe.

Damián Ortega on Controller of the Universe

Artist Damián Ortega speaks about his piece, Controller of the Universe.

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Controller Of The Universe |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 April 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>