If You Had To

You know when you have something big to tackle and you have no clue where or how to start? I feel like that with round two of a project I am working on. It’s not that I don’t want to do it, or that’s it unpleasant. Figuring out where on earth to start, that’s the problem.

In short: Create a symbol in the environment with found objects

Imagine that–to make anything, anywhere out of anything! I’ve been trying all kinds of things to jump start ideas. An assignment like this that has so few requirements is was overwhelming. It left  me staring blank at piles of trash on the street  for inspiration. I decided I needed to make my own rules, some parameters to work in that would make the task a bit less daunting. So, walking home I played one of my favorite games. I call it If  You Had To. I play it all the time.

Here’s how it works:

Fancy Dress

  1. Pick a spot. I chose a particularly fancy clothing store near my apartment.
  2. If you had to pick one, would it be?

It’s a silly little game, but it’s fun and forces you to make a choice. I applied this technique to my assignment. After hours of wandering around waiting for the perfect item of refuse to appear on the street, I eventually just chose a spot and grabbed what was there. The result, nothing special.

But then, it all came together. When the assignment became less about the thing and more about the making, the “thing” totally changed. It was doing something independant of meaning.  I won’t go into what the symbol is suppossed to “be”. It doesn’t really matter (the piece is riddled with meaning I’ll have you know). But, it was so amazing to see how people we’re interacting with it. I think it’s because it was clearly a “made” thing. It was all right there in the initial assignment requirements. It was just a matter of getting there. Not a new concept, but really great when you get to see it in practice with something you’ve made. Neat.

“..humans cannot truly be human and cannot truly know the world around them, without connecting to the fundamental process of making.”–The Journal of Modern Craft, Volume 1–Issue 1


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Filed under design, environmental, handmade, made, NYC

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