Tuesday, April 30, 2013

“I’ll string up your individuality to talk about my fictitious public”.

As I readied myself for school on Monday, I almost unconsciously opened Facebook to glance quickly at my newsfeed. I stopped and looked again. A friend of mine had posted a quote the night before, and as I read it I was shook:

 “Since there is no such entity as “the public” since the public is merely a number of individuals, any claimed or implied conflict of “the public interest” with private interests means that the interests of some men are to be sacrificed to the interest and wishes of others” Rand

Now I have to reiterate what my project is about. I wanted to talk about personal space and how in some cases, it gets wrongly abused and unnoticed For my data collection, I went around to big box stores, recording the actions of people as I got a little to close to them while pretending to shop.

            As I read this quote, I suddenly felt a hint of embarrassment, because I knew that this somehow related this to experimentation in my data collection. Though it related not in a way that I had been talking about all semester.  The words, “The public” and “merely a number of individuals”, have stuck out to me. Where have these four months taken me? Why have I oddly started thinking of experimenting on a collective group of people, my so-called public, expecting results like scientist would expect for a science experiment. I was assuming that everyone would react in a similar way, a way that could be recorded as data.  

And I do remember while doing the collective data assignment last Friday, and thinking to myself as we drove to the stores, “Don’t we have to get a group of people ready?”  I was feeling odd that I was simply going to try my personal space project on just anyone. My actions deleted individuality.  

Since you have all been in my group for a while, you knew that I was going to experiment again with people and personal space. This never happed. Instead, I decided to take photos from my collective data and make them into paint transfers. After doing this, I connected them with string and hung them up together. The string separates each person, but still connects the art as a whole.  The wall of transfers is like a wall that people can simply subjectively observe.

And I really want to make a awareness call on this class in general. I know of no other kind of school that celebrates individualism so strongly as a visual art school.  Let us all remember that we will receive as much as we give to others. This assignment was a lovely rude awakening.

Transfers are becoming very dear to me. They remind me of home. I came back to Memphis in January really desiring to continue to play with this idea and it never happened. This is my way of reopening the pages. Giving myself two days to work something up, this is as good as it got. Last night was a visual nightmare, but I think that the arrangement with string helps. 

Signe Johnson
“I’ll string up your individuality to talk about my fictitious public”.
Paint Transfer

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