I was inspired for my final project when I was looking at the website of an artist named Mark Jenkins, who does a lot of street installation work (http://xmarkjenkinsx.com/editions.html). I really liked his project in which he constructed a small child from plastic, then installed it in various parts of various cities. This didn’t exactly relate to any problem I have about our society that I was passionate about fixing, but it did bring my attention to some interesting issues. I was really interested in how art like street installations addressed perspective. At first, I wondered how many people would even notice the installations in the first place. We live in such a hectic, fast-paced society, and people rarely take the time to observe their surroundings. And even if people do notice the installations, it is impossible to know exactly how people will respond to them, because everyone has different histories and experiences that have shaped their perspectives today.
For my project, I decided to try some street installations in Harvard Square. I wanted to use a public place where a large variety of people pass by, but wanted a place somewhat accessible. The first time I went, I just used a bunch of random objects I found around my room, and the one I ended up liking the most was a toy crown. It is pretty clearly out of context sitting in Harvard Square. I really enjoyed taking the photos of the different places where I installed the crown, but it was even more interesting to see how people reacted to it. Most people walked right by it, and even when people did notice it, they would only glance at it or mention it briefly to their friend, then continue on with the rest of their lives. I especially like the pictures of the crown in less nice parts of Harvard Square, like on the bars in front of the closed shop, because it creates a really great contrast between the dark, dirty storefront and the innocence of the shiny toy crown. I plan to both continue with the installation of the crown in more places, as well as use a few more objects.
One of my suggestions for my final project had to do with my family, so Amanda suggested doing some mini-installations in my home when I was home over break, and seeing how my family interacted with them. I really liked this idea, because if I continued to consider people’s perspectives when interacting with the installations, I could see just how much my family members perspectives differed from one another and myself. I used a small toy duck and placed it around places in my house. My family members would get a glimpse of it and just think it was a little out of the ordinary, but that was about the extent of their reaction to it, because I think most of them knew that I was working on my project. The one member who interacted with it the most was my dog. I feel that dogs in general are more curious and in touch with their surroundings (my dog stops to sniff something every five feet when I take him for a walk), so it was kind of cool to see how he noticed it at first, then would start sniffing and nudging it, and then how this process would repeat as he interacted with it in different locations of my house.