David Byrne’s The New Sins was originally created for the Valencia Biennale in 2001 as a pocketsize volume with the appearance of a bible and placed anonymously in hotel rooms. The project was later adapted as a series of illuminated billboards for the Sydney Festival in 2002. For CONTACT 2005, 12 of the Sins are exhibited in six consecutive transit shelters on Queen Street West. The installation brings together Byrne’s fascination with religion with his interest in the immersion of art into public space. Here he describes the evolution of project (for full essay - see PDF posted on main installation page or the CONTACT magazine):
... I decided to poke a bit of fun at the things that we regard as virtues because I think we see a lot of things masquerading as their reverse: shopping marketed as freedom, meaningless mountains of data offered to us as knowledge. Most of all, we see conformity being marketed as individuality. My attacks are humorous in that they swipe at sacred cows such as Charity and Hope. My attacks are also serious, but over the top and twisted as well. So even I don’t know when to take them seriously. But I do believe there is something there, that under the humor there is serious criticism.
I take pictures constantly, and had a huge bank of images from which to draw, so I started off pairing these with the text. In each sin, there is always a link between word and image; sometimes the link is obvious, but sometimes one could use footnotes or a second book to decipher them. This partial obscurity doesn't bother me- my sense is that if an author or artist intuits that there is a link between words, images or sounds, however indirect that link might be, it is probably there, and maybe subconsciously the reader will feel it too.
David Byrne was born in Scotland and currently resides in New York. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design in the early 1970’s and he actively exhibits his artwork internationally. His most recent book is Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information and he is represented by Pace/MacGill Gallery, NYC. In addition to his solo music career, Byrne's highly influential group Talking Heads redefined notions of what was possible in popular music, setting new standards for lyrical acuity, musical variety and – in films and videos that Byrne himself often directed – visual inventiveness. This interest in the potential and perversity of the everyday has proved to be an enduring one for Byrne.
Six consequtive transit sheters 12 photographs, each 68 x 47 inches