© Hunter L. V. Elliott 2016
The ambiguity of art ownership is a necessary characteristic to question when trying to understand what art is. The Fluxus group asked questions such as (paraphrased) – could the sun rising and setting during the course of a day be considered an artwork? If so, how is one to claim ownership of the immaterial yet personal connection created by a work of art? Art should be experienced openly and democratically, and should then, if possible, be interacted with as such.
In This Is What I’m Doing and What Pertains to You, I embrace a degree of the freedom that this democratic, participatory philosophy encompasses. I provide an interactive open-ended sculpture consisting of materials that could be used to build multiple panels – a construction that is ubiquitous with the presentation of two-dimensional art. Nearby the stack of unfinished wood is a dispenser full of non-skid tape that could be used not only to adhere pieces together, but could also then be used to degrade the surfaces of the wood with its coarse, gritty surface.
Alongside the tape and wood pile is a poster containing information about the project in ten languages, a diagram of a possible configuration of the panels, and a crude step-by-step photo-illustration of how to construct a panel. The information on the poster is specific in describing the contents of the piece, yet woefully vague as to why one should do this, or why I decided to present the piece as I did. This vagueness is a tactic in developing confusion and skepticism. It acts as an artist’s statement, however does very little of what an artist’s statement is supposed to do. There is no additional context, and attempts to make no connection with the viewer.
Each language represented is in the order of the commonly spoken dialect of the region of the corresponding top 10 highest grossing Art auction sales in the world. I include this detail as an acknowledgment that although the philosophy regarding art as an open, democratic language, is in a large way, swayed by capitalistic institutions.