Evolution of Ideas: Final Project

Furthering development from last week’s iterations, my project has evolved after deliberation from classmates and brainstorming of ideas. I’m excited by the inputs that I received through collaboration as it enabled me to articulate my thoughts more clearly – as well as workshop the purpose of my work.

Drawing on the notion of “abstraction into instructions” I have decided to abstract Mel Bochner’s ‘Thesaurus’ works into tangible instructions upon which my artwork will be formed.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

I have a photo (further discussed below). I show the image to many people, say 100, and ask them to write down the first word or phrase that enters their mind when they see the image. These words will then be the text which forms the basis of my artwork.

So which photo do I use? After lengthy deliberation, I have chosen the following image as my source of inspiration:

Source: https://pixabay.com/en/stairs-urban-graffiti-paint-art-1045454/ (CC0 Creative Commons)

I chose a photo (rather than a word) as the trigger for my participants because it can be interpreted in numerous ways based on personal experience. I am hoping the words I receive are varied and unique. The final artwork will be presented on the back of a staircase. In order to reflect the setting and placement upon which the art is curated I have chosen an image of stairs to iterate this milieu.

The artwork will take the form of long strips of coloured cardboard with the words printed onto them. Originally, I was going to have each person paint the word onto the cardboard themselves prior to mounting. I decided against this because I thought the differing handwritings of each person would detract from the aesthetic that is apparent in Bochner’s work – which is that of structured, coherent words, (particularly seen in “EASY/DIFFICULT”, “Babble”, and “Die”). 

Additionally, each piece piece of cardboard will be mounted to the stair case using 3mm adhesive mounting squares, which will raise the work off the stairs slightly, while accentuating the depth and dimension created by the stairs as a setting.

Bochner hoped that in the reception of his artworks, “the viewer should enter the idea through a visual or phenomenological experience rather than simply reading it”. A such, the aesthetic, not the content of the text, is the crucial part of my abstraction. On a large scale, I hope this visual theme is replicated. The words will form a secondary element to the artwork, yet through their context, message and placement they should accentuate the setting within which the artwork (and hence, abstraction) is situated.


Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

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