Mark Dion: The Octagon Room: MASS MoCA
In The Octagon Room, Mark Dion investigates the blurred boundaries between art, society, and history, as well as the homogenized methods of their presentation and consumption.
The Octagon Room takes the appearance of a Brutalist-styled bunker. However, within the installation the viewer is invited to browse through an abandoned office, the contents of which represent the artist’s own labyrinthine history of the past eight years. Dion’s decision to utilize the octagon was inspired by the 19th-century mania for octagonal buildings, popularized by the American phrenologist Orson Squire Fowler, who championed the merits of octagonal homes over rectangular and square structures. Ultimately, octagonal houses never took hold and, instead these eight-sided homes seemed to be the choice of the individualists, standing defiant among their four-sided neighbors.