In the “Accident” series, Rob asked: what is the mythology of today’s world? What do people who watch TV, who drive in cars seeking adventure and entertainment, what symbols do these people turn to in times of trouble? Robert introduced two new ideas at this time: the idea that technology and trauma are somehow linked and that the search for wholeness involves the reconciliation of technology, nature and a community of people.
As on-lookers gather excitedly at a scene of disaster, the accident becomes one of society’s darkest entertainments. But the crowd is a also a network of connections, providing social interaction essential to recovery. In addition to cars, Robert introduced the motif of a long wharf projecting out into an infinite ocean. The artist referrred to this as “living on the edge.” It is also the end of the road. Earlier, Robert placed cars in images with titles like Escape and The Promised Land. But as the road ends, there is no escape. Accident and Wharf are images of the disruption of social order and spiritual crisis.