Part I: Canvas
Part II: Stickers
8,000 stickers with these images were ordered as well as 3 lbs of lavender biodegradable confetti.
The goal with the images was infiltration: I wished to intrigue someone enough to pick up the object and take it in, rather than be immediately put off by the image. If the viewer happened to be of a conservative ideology or identified as a “menist”, the sight of certain typefaces paired with the color pink or red would strike an immediate chord of distrust and a bias against a recognized enemy. Larger scales would add to this effect, and the work would seem more like an attack than a conversation.
My goal was to do the opposite of this, as these violent protest aesthetics have become almost synonymous with leftist and feminist political art. I wished to create an image small enough that it would not deliver a political threat to the viewer until picked up off the ground and fully acknowledged; perhaps by then, the imagery has already infiltrated the viewer’s mind even the slightest bit before the bias kicks in.
I chose the lavender colored confetti to create a false mood of celebration and add to an infiltrating sarcasm that one cannot digest immediately. The color lavender makes people calm and nostalgic, so as to comfortably pull in curious passersby.
Part III: Performative Public Installation
At 2:30 a.m., I covered my noticeably red hair and doused my face in obscuring makeup. In this strange persona, I biked to the DePaul University campus where I dumped the stickers and confetti across the main quadrant.
Part IV: Failed Attempt
Returning at 7:30 a.m., I expected to see curious students and staff with furrowed brows giving my stickers attention, even if it wasn’t the attention they cried out for. However, hardly anyone was seen on the quad; maybe two students at a time at most. There was a landscaping crew of about a dozen men armed with rakes and leaf blowers and four industrial-sized vacuums all desperately trying to stamp out and contain my stickers. A few of them reached down to pick them up with quizzical looks and exchanged a few words about what they might be, though I was too far away to hear any dialogue. By the time classes started at 9:00 a.m., all traces of the stickers were gone.
While this experiment may have failed in the goal of infiltration and leaking of ideas, it was a fascinating display of bureaucracy to watch my artwork be so quickly swept up by an institution. Is this censorship by the means of only permitting students to learn from a carefully planned curriculum, and filtering out any alternative means of speech or education? Is an academic institution a curation of thoughts rather than a fountain?