This large four-section work entitled Americana 54 uses a vintage set of encyclopedias, splayed open and connected, and then excavated in his inimitable way. As an over-arching idea...There are visual aspects of stylized cloud shapes...with the current and metaphoric idea being that of information "in the cloud." The grand contrast is this encyclopedia set from 1954 is full of obsolete information that at one time was the most up to date. The piece can be shown in various arrangements alluding to clouds, inorder, out of order; whatever is visually appropriate for the setting. Dettmer is searching for new ways for this outdated material to be re-read in a new light.
In Chaos, Dettmer manually looked up a single word from a 1992 revised edition of Webster's Thesaurus and then continued to search the corresponding synonyms through 5 phases. Over 2600 words construct this radial chart that has a potential to grow infinitely. Words that have already emerged in a previous phase or definition become red, suggesting that the definition bounces back on itself in a perpetual loop and doesn't continue to grow in an outward direction. Words that are within a word's definition but are not in the book when looked up become black and die out. Words found in the book when searched become blue and continue to grow out into infinite branches. This piece attempts to create order from chaos while exposing a framework of multiple routes and meanings that echo the structures and possibilities within hyperlinks on the Internet and within our own thought patterns and memory associations.