The garment's ability to encode the social function and status of its wearer has always fascinated me. The armored Cumberbelt is the primary garment of my present sculpture. It provides protection for the corporate gladiator. It is a pinstripe parody of economic authority. Located in the site of mythic intuitive wisdom, the gut, the cumberbelt causes a disfigurement that represents the distorted valuation of humanity, identity and natural resources resulting from amoral corporate capitalistic expansionism.

By canonizing qualities deemed important by society, monumental public sculpture becomes a repository of cultural principles. In the same way, armor collections represent the values and lifestyle of their era. My suits, like medieval armor collections, embody social ideals once with function, whose validity and relevance have been called into question.

I first released this body of working 1996. However, it seems to have gained more relevance in recent months since the mystique surrounding the collapse corporate giants like Enron and WorldComm, as well as the intrigue involved in the affairs of Halliburton and issues relevant to the US government's energy and environmental policies; all leading up to the current Oil Wars in the Middle East.

When the proto-capitalist Adam Smith wrote Wealth of the Nations, he envisioned a system in which the wealth of the corporate entities (that he feared as being immortal and unaccountable) belonged to the entire nation. Today's corporations exist as legal citizens, guaranteed individual rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The original intent of the Fourteenth Amendment was to protect newly emancipated slaves.

Until a few hundred years ago, Aristocracy was the governmental norm for centuries. I am intrigued by myths of the organizations from the early 1700's in Europe and North America, associated with counter-authority trends leading up to the American and French Revolutions and fuelled by Grand Enlightenment ideals.

There is a web site featuring the Empire of Commerce. Rather than constructing a site that mimics (rather poorly) an actual gallery, The Empire of Commerce is structured as an interconnecting narrative similar to an arcade game. This enables me to present much of the source material of my artwork in a digestible way, and help guide the viewer in acquiring meaning from my work, while not stifling with dry rhetoric.

In actual culture one must complete certain ordeals to earn the privilege to higher status, wealth, information and knowledge. This is the basis for my site. By "playing the game" the participants will be able to view my sculpture, learn more about them, and enjoy themselves along the way.

It is in the spirit of Bakhtinian Carnival that I parody authority, and the self-legitimizing tactics used by humans with is better to laugh than to languish.