The figure of Janus represents transitions and thresholds. This Roman god was printed on ancient currency. Janus also ensured that commerce and trade went smoothly. Before the god Janus was around, the ancient Greeks had a similar figure, the name of which translated into something like chaos. I'm not sure why I became interested in this symbol (probably started here). It's likely because of my interest in the fact that in the state of interaction, or play (as it refers to interactive sculpture), your mind connects to the state of constant transition, and you are in what athletes call "the zone." This is a slang term for a mental state which is also known as eternity, the present moment or the now.
I get the impression that patriarchs are unnerved by transition (why else require a deity to ensure a smooth one), even though a transitional state is a constant for the universe. This figure was also linked to warfare in that the gates were open during times of war. The implication here seems to be a patriarchal interpretation of transitions as violent instead of just natural. I always think of this passage from Grapes of Wrath, where Ma Joad says to Tom:
“Man, he lives in the jerks-- baby born an' a man dies, an' that's a jerk-- gets a farm an' loses his farm, an' that's a jerk. Woman, it's all one flow, like a stream, little eddies, little waterfalls, but the river, it goes right on. Woman looks at it like that. We ain't gonna die out. People is goin' on-- changin' a little, maybe, but goin' right on.”
It says a lot about how men and women deal with transitions. Ma Joad is channeling Krishnamurti here in that she sees the world as a complete continuum.
The form in this sculpture is a lot like a boat, but the rocking motion with the cart-like object in the middle resembled the actions of a skateboarder on a half-pipe. The whole experience can be seen as comic or absurd. But in the act of manipulating the interactive sculpture, the participant embraces the transition state. You can interact with this artwork by rocking it back and forth, and you can even step through it while it's in a resting position.