(2003) by Chadwick Rantanen satiates the desire
of any current or former adolescent who has plugged a coin-operated
game in the hopes of scoring a prize, and lost (again and again).
Rantanen installed a crane machine in a dark, vacant room.
Inside its large glass box, illuminated by a ring of small light
bulbs, a lone claw dips repeatedly into a mound of colorful stuffed
creatures, each time tenuously clasping one and sending it down
a chute. Where one could only ever hope of attaining one of the
furry, oddly shaped prizes, here the claw methodically empties out
the entire space.
By isolating the game outside of the context of say Coney Island,
the lust for the strange prizes ranging from animals, insects,
fruits to cowboy hats indicate a culture so obsessed with
amassing things, it matters little what they are.
In this way, the content of the game is displaced and the sheer
act of winning is laced with a palpable, scintillating tension.
The claw¹s unwavering victory puts an end to the cycle of rising
aspirations and deferred satisfaction that keeps our capitalist