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Recursive Concepts In Art: Dimensional Hanging Compositions

This second visit to the ideas that inspired AL-Gorithm last spring emphasized the question of authorship/ownership I obliquely raised in its predecessor. At one point do words stop being attributable? Is it at the word level, the sentence level, or perhaps at some sort of grammar-unit-agnostic semantic level? Jeehyun, Joshua, and I agreed that this new iteration should stress recursion—that every part of the project should reflect on itself and extend the idea of lexical recombination.

ITERATION 1: The project’s first focus is the only requirement of the assignment that spawned it—that we turn in a three-page paper describing our intentions and how our piece seeks to accomplish them. We each wrote a paper. We then cut up all the papers and reassembled them into a single paper (below). The title was a leftover scrap we felt captured both the spirit and intention of the piece.


ITERATION 2: Since of each of us has a different native language, we translated the above into Spanish and Korean, passing the text through another level of filtration and reinterpretation.

ITERATION 3: We “performed” the paper, dressed in black and white to mimic text, in front of the class, reading it in a staggered, canon-like manner to get a variety of sonic overlays.

IMG_9761ITERATION 4: During our performance, we asked our classmates to stand in the center of the room and make a new text, providing them with scissors and glue and a blank sheet of paper to work with while we read. Ten minutes later, we had sixteen very different results (pictured below), though all but one used only the words we provided and the majority respected word boundaries. In the discussion that followed our performance, people commented that our dress, our demeanor, and our (physical) positions of power within the room combined with the obvious cues provided by the glue sticks and scissors at each station to make it almost inevitable that people would cut up the text we’d provided unquestioningly.


ITERATION 5: We printed out the Frankenstein text in all three languages and overlaid them to create a visual equivalent to the sonic cacophony of our performance. The various texts come in and out of phase much as they did when we were speaking.


My original paper is here.


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