LELLO//ARNELL: Turn Illness into a Weapon (Monument to Wolfgang Huber & Patty Hearst)
LELLO//ARNELL: Turn Illness into a Weapon (Monument to Wolfgang Huber & Patty Hearst)
Turn Illness into a Weapon (Monument to Wolfgang Huber & Patty Hearst)
2010
Scorched baseball-bats and wood
Dimensions variable

The sculpture consists of seven baseball-bats set in a wooden stand which has subsequently been set on fire. The title is one of the mottos of the West German terrorist group Sozialistisches Patientenkollektiv (SPK), which later merged with the considerably more notorious Rote Armee Fraktion aka Baader-Meinhof.

The SPK was founded by Wolfgang Huber in 1970 and its members consisted of mental patients under his care at the Heidelberg University clinic. They claimed that all illness, physical and mental, was a product of capitalism, and the only means of recovery for the patient was to exert violence onto the society which was to blame for the illness.

Huber's degeneration from a psychiatric doctor into a fanatic terrorist ideologist starkly contrasts the fate of Patty Hearst. The infamous 19 year old was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in 1973, only to resurface a few months later completely indoctrinated by the group, actively participating in a bank-robbery wielding an M1 carbine rifle. In some respect, they had both been "infected" by a similar madness, moving from moderate positions in society into marginal groups led by motives and principles that were all but well-balanced.

The sculpture is an appropriation of the SLA's logo, which depicts a seven-headed cobra. The seven-headed cobra is a protective symbol which is derived from Hinduism, and the SLA have based their logo on an image by James Churchward, a British born occult writer who claimed to have evidence of a seventh, undiscovered continent, Mu, which had been the home of an ancient, highly developed civilization.