Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Art Assignment: Stacked Books

Almost two months until my birthday, and I'm almost done with my "9 Things To Do While 29." One of those goals is to complete three "Art Assignments." The Art Assignment is an online PBS show hosted by Sarah Green, where she interviews different artists, gives some art history knowledge, and gives viewers an assignment to create a piece of art on their own. Each assignment has specific inspiration and instruction.

So here's my first one! This is called "Sorted Books." You can watch the video about the assignment here. The idea behind it is that you can get a glimpse into someone's life and personality by examining the books they have in their personal library. The artist, Nina Katchadourian, selects books and stacks them to form "found poems" or short sentences. You can see some of her brilliant work here. The instructions are simple:

1. Choose a person you know or would like to know better
2. Take a look at/through their library
3. Make 3 stacks of books to develop a portrait of the person
4. Upload it to your social media platform of choice using #theartassignment
5. Fame and glory (your work might be featured in a future episode)

I decided to work from Jacob and I's own library, but to only use books that Jacob has contributed--books he owned before we were married, or books he has purchased since then for himself. I used my iPhone to photograph the stacks I created, so they aren't exactly high quality, but they get the job done. I decided to photograph the books on our bed, since our bookshelves are in our bedroom, right across from where we sleep, and because the bed is the place we do the most reading--together and separately.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible! 
The Given Day
The Way it Spozed To Be
The Ancestor's Tale
How We Are Hungry

Armageddon Summer
Paradise Lost
Where I'm Calling From
All Who Go Do Not Return
With Good Reason

Crucial Conversations
Who Am I? 
I Am A Strange Loop
I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow

I feel a little uncertain about whether or not this assignment really does give an accurate glimpse into the life of a person. It's such a selective glimpse, and such a constructed glimpse. It's difficult to distill someone's entire personality into three stacks of books. These stacks sort of represent certain aspects of Jacob, certain ideas he thinks about, but these stacks are mostly using Jacob's books to represent what occurs to me...the ideas and constructions that I see.

Still, it was a fun assignment, and I'm excited to do more!

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