This is a course I am teaching at the Parallel University (see http://web.me.com/sandysampson/Parallel_University/HOME.html ). To be enrolled, simply go there and sign up; but feel free to comment here as an "auditor." The main thrust of this course is conversation; a dialectic on the uses of art, its experience as lived everyday (outside of the signed precincts of “art”), and the proposal of some specific projects for public domain use; as the basis for discussion (responses welcomed); and for revision and rethinking. Any and all are free to put a project into practice; no credit is needed for this author. A project may be changed for use, or overwritten completely. It is wished that the concepts themselves will act as art, at the very least provoking thought if not discussion. Here then are the first few projects.

Nick Thabit
Adjunct Professor
Parallel University


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I am the eggman. They are the eggmen. I am the walrus.
John Lennon

A time-based art for two. Create two large luminous "eggs" from translucent styrofoam (about 8' high, 4' diam. at the widest), put an amber light inside, provide a human-sized entrance on the back and a small visor on the front. The eggs should be installed in a public space that encourages interaction, such as a cafe or other "hang" space, allowing easy access for those wishing to continue exploration. Two participants (acquainted or not) write an everyday message, a fragment of conversation and display it on the fronts of their respective eggs. To create a message: attach words, stamped into small (1-2" x 3-4") thick metal plates, on the front, in a jagged, fragmented way, clustered near the egg's center, first words higher than the last. For example, "Hey, Trina, haven't seen you around in a while." The spoken words are a coherent sentence, but their fragmentation here points up the autonomous nature of their existence: they perform only as signs, and do not in any configuration convey the infinity without our presumed "self"; the ocean aside the preamble, waiting eternally.

The two participants, after displaying their messages, enter the eggs, read the other's message and reflect on identity, and separation; on the unspoken; on being, and the fragmentary nature of speech. The participants engage in this exercise three times, each instance being at least two weeks apart. Each time, the experience of "double isolation" brings a new understanding of the mediating power of words and perhaps a sense of new possibilities in communication. What do two reasoning people want to say to each other, behind the words? That is the question.

No comments: