Noelle Mason

Big Stick (dithyramb)


Police Billy-club

121 x 6.5 x 2

“A 12-foot long night stick is meant to take the often commented on phallic nature of the police Billy-club to it’s logical conclusion. Leaning against the wall it is meant to evoke the giant phalluses at the center of the ancient Greek festival of Dionysus. The first day of the festival was consecrated to choruses called dithyrambs, eulogies in honour of the gods : fifty men danced and sang around Dionysos’ altar (altar called thymele) to the sound of flutes and tambourines, on the Agora not far from the altar of the twelve gods. Originally these dithyrambs would take place at night in the glow of torches and lead to phenomenon of ecstasy or hysteria.

The use of the dithyramb in ancient Greek religion seemed an appropriate parallel to the all too familiar homo-social hysterical frenzy of police brutality which often takes place at night in the glow of mag-lites.

This work also references the ‘drag’ of blackness that the police wear as a means to perform power and of course the familiar Teddy Roosevelt saying ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’." NM

Noelle Mason

Thomas Robertello Gallery

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