(acrylic, mixed media)
by Kiam Marcelo Junio
Installation shot by Heidi Norton
Artist statement and more images here
The “I AM” project is a movable street art installation made of mirrored acrylic sheets, and installed with post-its and a pen. When in public, passersby can stop and see their reflection, and write on a post-it to leave behind.
So far, I have installed it in 5 different locations around Chicago, and have gotten different responses that run the gamut from serious (I AM: “proud to have come this far with no clue”), funny (I AM: “too sober for this”) and romantic (I AM: “so in love with him” “and I with her!”). Some posts even elicited responses from others: (I AM: “awesome” “more awesome than that guy”), or reflect the current economic state (I AM: “unemployed” “me too”).
I find interactive art to be the most engaging, and for so long, it had been my intent to create pieces that elicit responses from others. While living in Spain, I had a large plank of wood in my living room, my “Inspiration Wall” on which my friends and visitors (often Couchsurfers from over 15 countries), could write, draw, glue, and express what inspires them. The “I AM” project stems from this same idea, of sharing an internal reflection with the external world.
During the critique for my work, a lot of topics were brought up that I plan to consider when taking the project further.
* Color selection - whether or not each location should be color-coded with regards to post-its, perhaps limiting one location with one color.
* Placement/location - consider what is more important: seeing people’s interaction with the work, or what they write. Too often, people will write only passing statements, nothing that reveals their true state. No one wants to confess or spill their emotional content in public.
* Collecting/archiving - I have various stills from each location, but my classmates all seemed to agree that video documentation would be much more effective. In this case, where should I be in relation to the work? How will I get a video of people interacting, writing on the post-its if I’m trying to be inconspicuous? My previous approach was to sit in a restaurant or cafe across the street. Is this still the best approach?
* Installation - my idea is to keep the actual piece as a street installation. Having it in a gallery setting seems to take it out of context, and gives it a formalized structure that I don’t intend. On a gallery wall, the “I AM” project looks cold and unwelcoming. The reflections would be that of a gallery space, rather than the street, people, and the moving, bustling life of the city. In the future, only the documentation would exist in a gallery setting. The actual “I AM” project would only exist outside.
I plan to continue the project. If you live in the Chicago area, keep your eyes open!
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