week 13 or 14…or 15?

week 13 or 14…or 15?

I continue to pick up trash. This will hopefully stop at some point during this year, but for now, my eyes are very much trained on garbology, scanning the environment and trained in visually sorting through garbage of value to the project based on possible messages and relevance to time and place.

However, my thoughts have shifted to two areas of focus:
1. How to maintain consistency within the work while avoiding repetitiveness – and perhaps more importantly,
2. How this project ends, and how I might measure success or failure.
3. Where this project will be seen. (which hypothetically and subjectively, I know)

The first is simple albeit not easy, more and diverse use of palimpsest, slightly different definitions of what a palimpsest is. However, I am not too worried about there being a distinct look or method that is somewhat uniform throughout the final pieces, the focus should be on the elements and content of the pieces, which brings me to point no. 2, how I might measure or determine the success of the project, or – if not success – an analysis, insight, or understanding of the project. And how this might be recorded, and whether that is necessary.

If – as has been the stated objective – I want the viewer to engage with both the individual elements and the gestalt of the pieces and create their own narratives and meanings, should these then be archived? I am once again ambivalent about this. Is there is value in these pieces if we don’t learn what thoughts, meanings, stories, or even actions they have triggered? Or is there some something carceral about an attempt at documenting internal thoughts, that might both taint the exercise for viewers knowing they must find ways to express these thoughts thus blunting the sharp, jagged honesty of private inner beliefs, and also influence any subsequent viewers’ interpretation, thus becoming a fait accompli reached by a committee decision on an ambiguous meaning?

A book feels too final, as much as it also feels very appropriate as a medium, the latter might, however, stem from an expectation rather than appropriateness for this project. It an ironic sense, it would close the project by opening the book on it. There are currently two options, I am debating; a newspaper (or more precisely, a collection of the work on newsprint and in a newspaper format.) This format gives a sense of temporariness or ephemerality, and an idea that subsequent editions may change and contact develop.

Finally, point 3 for this week and a more general question of scope. I know where I would ideally see this project being, but that will not happen, if for no other reason of a shutdown, a pandemic, and even if I could a moral desire not to want to ask people to come together.

It would ideally be in an exhibition space of some sort, ‘of some sort’, meaning it wouldn’t have to be a white cube museum or gallery, but it should be a space that is dedicated to the viewing of work, in order for it to have the best chance of gaining the engagement it seeks.

Having said that, in a parallel world, in a different incarnation, and healthier time, why not install pieces on public transportation, on billboards near rush-hour hotspots. Why not bring the question out of the rather privileged space and ask the public to become more involved and engaged viewers if this is supposed to be about the marginalised voices and the quotidian?

This doesn’t seem like an appropriate scope for 10 remaining weeks, mostly because it isn’t. This project is about the creation of the work, the contextualization and understanding of its meaning. The installation and execution of its viewing is a separate project. or certainly distinct part of the project.

I started doing some tests with viewers, which – and I hate to go on about it – isn’t ideal when we have to do it digitally, however, the first tests were quite successful.

One thing that has become obvious is that some viewers spend more time and effort, and others are a bit more monosyllabic.

Here is one of the better ones:

The In-N-Out branding is so iconic, reminiscent of 1950s Americana… youth, sand, blonde hair, roller skates, etc. featuring the bible verse, which references eternal life – not references – explicitly tells you that you will ‘perish’ if you don’t believe in god and then there is the text that makes you feel like there’s danger at the turn of every corner.

That the happy-go-lucky sun on your skin wind in your hair moments aren’t very real. They’re so easily squashable like the cup. I’m guessing this text is written by a woman but I don’t know. It also makes me wonder how this person experiences the world in other ways. I think that she isn’t white, which I think reinforces the squashed cup message that the In-N-Out cup life is reserved for white people.

Am I reading into it too much?


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