links Picture

the project was an installation piece done in my university. the purpose "construct a linear artwork/Installation that conveys boundary, passage, shelter or prison . Select a presentation site someplace—SPACE---on FIU's (Florida International University) campus that enhances your chosen theme.The project must be 90% constructed with LINEAR materials or that convey linear."

here is the essay written in explanation to the piece:

In the search for a concept behind this project, we chose to give our perception on certain social issues within our structured society as opposed to the interpretation of it in a chaotic situation, such as nature. The words themselves: boundary, passage, prison, and shelter – could all very well be applied to that of nature and natural issues, though we felt that we could encompass all four themes within the concept of racism and its effects on our modern society.

We believe that at the root of racism is the concept of ignorance. In ignorance, the racist finds a haven for his own preconceived notions and ideas concerning other cultures, races, etc… It is in this ignorance that the racist finds a shelter, a disillusioned reality protecting him from the truth, the reality of the world. As cultures throughout history are fearful of change, this is true also in the mind of the racist. A shocking experience could shatter the entire fragility of the racist's manner of thinking – his shelter, his comfort zone – and in this, he fears, the change from thousands years in conditioning.

In this manner of thinking, the racist then inadvertently, whether intentionally or unintentionally, creates a boundary for himself and others. In this “safety zone” of his “shelter,” the racist is ignorant to the fact that he is only limiting the chances of increasing his experiences (and in as such, gaining knowledge) and possibly enjoying the differences of other cultures.

This ideology, though creating a safe haven for his comfort zone in his mentality, also creates a prison for alien thoughts and ideas. In this, the racist acts doubly as a boundary for himself and others, because not only is he restricting himself to his own boundary, and in putting his ideology in action, the racist restricts the freedoms of others. In effect, he creates a boundary for those he opposes to the point where it could be literal imprisonment.

The Japanese have mythological fables of the fox, where they believe that the fox holds mystical and magical properties. Before the 4 th century, Shintoism was the leading pseudo-religion in Japan . Within Shintoism, the tale of the fox shape-shifting in the woods becomes that of a beautiful woman. As a woman, the fox would lure hapless wanderers and seduce them. Once the wanderer met the woman and fell haplessly in love, the moment they would have any sexual contact (usually a kiss), the woman shifted once again to the form of the fox. Though the tale is inclined to sound tragic, the actual meaning behind the Shinto view of the situation is surprisingly optimistic. The tale is a metaphor that shows those who endure pain and suffering, not in just the aspect of love but in all aspects in life, will be enlightened. Though the wanderer is left broken and fooled, he has gained more intelligence in knowing the truth of the situation he was in. The theme of this “enduring pain to find enlightenment” is what we have conceived into the passage theme of our piece. Despite years of racial strife and struggle, there is hope that at the end, “enlightenment” will be reached at last, where both cultures can coexist peacefully. The installation is also placed in a already man made pathway that begins at the entering point of our institution and ends in the PC building, Spanish for Primera Casa, named for being the first building classes were taught. Universities are commonly held to be acknowledged of a place of “higher learning” where one could seek a form of “enlightenment.”

The materials and placement of the installation are conceptually tied to the project. The hallway consists of arches from one building to another. Our vision was to create chain-like “bars” between each arch, giving the impression of one long chain, each link in either black or white. The size of the “chain” itself gives reference to the boundary this racism has placed, yet it is disconcertingly fragile. The underlying structure of wire refers to the use of metal, an object associated with hardness, durability (stubbornness “personified” if you will), yet at the same time malleable in shape changing similarly to a human's mentality. Metal also has a direct correlation to chains and prison bars, objects that have long been used in reference to slavery. Crepe paper, otherwise known as party streamers, were then used to cover the wire structures. Two colors, white and black, were chosen on a variety of levels: We did not want to mix any of the colors to signify that there are racists with the equal amount of conviction on both sides. This is not just a piece on a one-sided argument. The colors also are a metaphor for the predominance of the media's and modern society's obsession and exposure between the racial tensions of Caucasians and African-Americans. Because of the sole exposure to these two groups, the placement of them is in a very open and direct area of a university that prides itself on its international diversity is, as well, an ironic concept. Most of these people who will have contact with the installation will more than likely be other minority members whose voices on racism and injustices are rarely, if ever, heard in today's society or media. Parallel to the society we live in, their voices are silenced in this piece. They are left only to be bystanders of a bitter age old dispute between the two major cultures of our country.

The use of party streamers is a reference to a common event held in every culture: celebration. In effect, this concept and that both colors are made from the same material, refers to the fact that we are all inherently the same. We are all living, breathing, creatures with the same vital organs to keep us alive. The streamers are fragile, similar to how a person's mentality can be. The same as how delicate our balance is at peacekeeping cities.

This linear artwork installation is not meant endorse the idea of one culture's dominance over the other. It is an observation of silenced outsiders viewing the fragility of holding peace, and the realization of our own boundaries held within us. It also serves as a provocation the modern social issue of racism is abundantly overexploited through the media and held to be politically unpopular. Yet, this idea still widely accepted. This piece explores the idea that in country full of diversity, if you are not black or white, your racial injustice is not accounted for.
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