Untitled, 2008

Hallie Jones & Aron Conaway

Video documenting an interactive conceptual work developed in collaboration between myself and Aron Conaway.

On top of the table, a sign reads:

How Are We Doing? 

Your opinion matters to us.

A stack of blank note cards is positioned in front of the sign. Next to it, a container of pens and pencils. A slot for depositing comment cards is cut into the center of the table top.

Once a comment card is inserted into the slot, it is gripped by a paper shredder that abruptly yanks it from the individual’s grasp. They suddenly hear the loud noise of the shredding device as it kicks into operation. Once they realize what is happening, it is too late for the comment card to be salvaged.

The moment commenter becomes aware of the destruction in-process is the same moment they are also rendered powerless in the communicative exchange of meaning.  Their comment will never be read by an Other. Their voice is unexpectedly silenced through the artistic intervention disrupting the cultural codes of the “comment box”.

This work creates a jarring experience for the individual. The commenter imbues the note card with an intention of making, sharing and communicating meaning, which amplifies their sudden sense of loss and powerlessness. Having a paper, seemingly violently, ripped from one’s hand…. only to be destroyed, is somewhat difficult to accept. The destructive process conceptually represents an ultimate disregard for the individual’s subjectivity, efforts and contributions.

For the artists, this piece represents autonomy.  It was made with the intention to liberate their practice from the perceived influence of art world rhetoric.

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