The general direction was to embrace some of our under-acknowledged history and to celebrate labor. We asked our friend and frequent CSB collaborator Christian England to help us conceive the piece. After a few passes we landed on this sweeping steel and object assemblage called "10,000 Years of Labor in Utah", starting at the first know humans in the state over 10,000 years ago, all the way to 30 seconds into the future.
Here are the first known people to inhabit what would become Utah (and by odd coincidence, the first provable evidence of humans in the Americas) who left their mark with a fire pit and some flint shards in remote Danger Cave in the Great Basin desert. We wanted the figurative abstraction of the mostly anonymous people of the mural to appear as though there was a searing hot plain between them and the viewer, the sense of heat distortions standing in for time and the deterioration of memory.
Joe Hill is one of the only two historical, named individuals in the piece. He was a labor organizer and musician who came to Utah organize coal and copper miners, and through a series of unfortunate and mysterious events ended up being conveniently executed by the State of Utah in 1915. By far the biggest story with the labor movement and the state, he figures prominently.
The collage box containing the model of the five rifles used by the State of Utah to execute Joe Hill. Oddly the firearms used for the 1915 execution were left out of the historical record. CSB was aided in this hunt for accuracy by a quorum of Utah's most venerated living historians, Ken Sanders, Will Bagley, Steve Gallenson, Jermey Harmon and others. The final consensus was that it was the 1903 Springfield bolt action rifle, shown here.