Self Reflective Cups / 2016 - Ongoing


Self Reflective Cups are formed by slowly kneading a styrofoam cup inside out (over a period of hours). The creation of each Self Reflective Cup is a performance that simultaneously engages the body and the mind and the process itself becomes the work. When a cup is successfully inverted without a crack, puncture or tear, the performance ends and the piece is complete.
A self reflectice cup made by Zacharia Mathis

Throughout the Fall of 2018,  one of my students, Zacharia Mathis would routinely come to class and question how it was that I was able to turn a styrofoam cup inside out. Convinced that there must be a trick behind their creation he was determined to find the answer. 

ZM: Do you use heat?
RB: No Zacharia, just my hands, patience and time.
ZM: Do you use glue?
RB: No Zacharia, just my hands, patience and time.  
ZM: Do you use a tool?
RB: No Zacharia, just my hands, patience and time. 

After three months had passed I arrived to find a self reflective cup  with the words  ‘FOR RYAN’ written on it hanging from the door knob of my office.  Zacharia had been quietly attempting to turn a cup inside out and left evidence of his accomploishment for me as a gift. 

When I set out to make the first self reflective cup I had intended  to make a work that required time, patience and an attention to the tinsel strength of  material. This was intended to be methaphorical conversation beween myself and an inanimate object. I had never imagined the act of turning a cup inside out would inspire a different type of conversation all together. 

Thank you to Zacharia Mathis for this gift and for making the conversation a more rewarding one.