The following assignment is from "You Are An Artist: Assignments to Spark Creation" by Sarah Urist Green.
It is available for purchase here.
It is available for purchase here.
WEEK 7: May 11th - May 15th
NEVER SEEN, NEVER WILL
Artists to Investigate: Albrecht Durer, David Brooks, Dawn Knight
In 2014, artist David Brooks was thinking about Durer's rhino when he began making a series of sculptures that give form to animals he has never seen, particularly those who were endangered.
Instead of trying to make realistic drawings or paintings of them, Brooks explored how he might represent them in a different way - more viscerally (in a way that affects us in an emotional or physical way). He assembled blocks of solid aluminum and marble into stacked compositions with forms determined by the weight of the material needed to equal the weight of an adult of each species.
These sculptures remind us of the physical reality of these animals and also remind us of their impending disappearance.
In 2017, I (yes, me!) was also inspired by Albrecht Durer's confident creation of something he himself had never experienced. I created an installation inspired by the romance I have never witnessed myself but have heard /read about.
Although I have seen many representations of what romance looks like, I chose to behave like a scientist would, and research romance using over 400 Harlequin Romance novels - these were all novels that my Grandmother read in the last 30 years of her life. Represented on these book covers are rituals of romantic attraction, desire, and courtship - particularly, acts of physical connection.
I studied these images with a pseudo-scientific curiosity and, like a scientist, categorized and documented a taxonomy of heterosexual heterosexual expressions, gazes, touches, and interactions, for display, as if it were in a science museum: Genus Mores, Genus Contactus, Genus Basium and Genus Contemplor. My installation used Petri dishes, found images from magazines, and a lab coat.
Your Challenge: Never Seen, Never Will
For this assignment, you will need to do some thinking - some mulling around. Spend some time thinking about what things in life you will see and probably never see. Talk about this with your friends, parents, siblings.
- Think about something you know exists but that you've never actually seen and will likely never see. Make a great list - with 10 or more possibilities to work with. Your something doesn't have to be far-reaching or fantastical. It can be "close to home" but still be inaccessible or invisible.
- Think: What do you know about the something you've selected? Or what do you think you know?
- Try out a few different ways of articulating your subject. One idea might sound great in your head, but then may not work out in real life. Do the obvious thing, but then also do something else.
- Articulate that something in any medium you like. "Articulate" can mean anything from making a sculpture to composing a written account to shooting a video. If the "something" you have chosen is immaterial, think of a way to make it material. E.g. you could create an abstract, mixed media representation of the fireworks that a good book can set off in your head.
- Submit your work on Edsby. Look for the Never Seen, Never Will Assignment.
Here are some examples of (past) real-life responses to this assignment:
- knitting a mobiles strip out of typewriter ribbon to represent a black hole
- creating a musical composition that articulates seeing the back of someone's head
- a painting, from your imagination of a person you know exists but have never met
- a collection of poems about your great grandfather whom you never met
- a recording of yourself falling asleep or sleeping