Jud Turner's Lotus Eaters sculpture: media will consume itself

Sculptor Jud Turner writes, "My latest sculpture, 'Lotus Eaters', was inspired by characters from Homer's Odyssey. The Lotophagi (lotus eaters) feed on a soporific plant which causes them to forget their homelands and live apathetic, uncaring lives. Their diet causes them to be sleepy and languid, as well as disinterested in the world around them. In my version, the lotus plants being consumed are media, depicted by the warped reflections of the 8 individuals gazing at themselves, further distorted and recorded by their repeated third-eye surveillance lenses."

"Lotus Eaters" (Thanks, Jud!)


  1. Mixing all those metaphors makes this a real stretch. A joke isn’t funny if you have to explain it, and this sculpture takes way too much explaining. And, shouldn’t the third-eye lenses actually work?

  2. Its executed well, but I agree, the metaphor is a bit of a stretch. Two main problems jump out at me.

    First, how do the reflections of the “lotus eaters” represent the media? Skulls aside (the dead can’t contemplate themselves after all), there is nothing in their reflection that in anyway denotes that they are looking at any sort of media.

    Second, whats the point of the fake CCTV camera lenses? Without the whole camera there, or at least a feed coming from the camera to let the viewer know what they are, they read as just another stylistic element that’s repeated throughout the piece. Either drop it or go all the way.

    The final piece ends up looking like a milquetoast meeting of Paik and Giger.

  3. There aren’t that many metaphors in this. It’s alluding to the Odyssey as a pointed commentary on social media. The reflecting ball and the third eye lenses let the skulls look at themselves recursively. They see themselves watching themselves to the point of having died. The lotus eaters got involved in feel-good behavior and never got anything done, either. I see it as a way of saying that it’s possible to get caught up in self-obsessed vanity, wasting your life away. The skulls also remind me of the Dutch vanitas paintings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Maybe the Delft blue shading is also an allusion to that?

    Artistically, what would be the point of having eight working cameras on the viewer of this piece? Who would watch the video? It’s enough that the viewer can see their own reflection in the center ball.

    Obviously, this is a sculpture, not a joke. However, if the artists doesn’t explain the symbolism of the work, the viewer possibly wouldn’t have any context and the sculpture will just be eight pretty blue skulls on some flower petals around a shiny ball.


    So far, this is my favorite sculpture of his.

  4. It’s a gorgeous piece. The reflections of the skulls is inspiring.

    There’s a lot of Dios de la Muerte in there as well.

    Is the mirror a two-way security dome? Could you mount a camera behind it to feed another piece in a sequence installation, perhaps time-delayed in the next room so people could see their own prior unknowing reaction to the mirror?

    How about a third in the sequence showing their reaction to the revelation of surveillance?

    The information about authorial intent only adds to my appreciation of it, and the statement is merely one reference point from which to examine it if you so choose. The artist could just as well have called it a a metaphor for internet comment boards and titled it “circle-jerk of the liche-snarks” and it would still be a beautiful piece.

    1. I love it as is, but this is exactly the sort of thing that would make it more awesome. I wish I had however much it costs laying around because I want this on the giant empty wall above my screens.

  5. I think the piece is beautiful and brilliant. I don’t agree that it needs “explaining;” more like those are the thousand words that this particular “picture” is worth.

  6. I love it. The sculpture is a success. The only failure is the feeling that there’s a need to explain. :)

  7. I’m lucky to see this guys stuff when I’m around Eugene, Or…Great sculptor. Snarking about his vision is dumb… I would love it if JayConverse put some art on here so we may comment on it.

  8. Love it, blue colors are perfect, it feels dead silent- like something you can find in an old grave…
    from a distance it looks like jewelry flower design made of tanzanite.

  9. I think it’s a beautiful piece…
    …but how about making the mirror semi-transparent, & feed live output from the surveillance cameras into one or several images projected from the back of the semi-mirror?

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