I’ve had an idea in my head for the past few weeks, since the house gallery show, really. It’s of projecting my final site/questionnaire onto a big sheet of slate. It’s inspired by the grey I used for those canvases reminded me of slate. I think the image of slate is a really nice one. I like the feel and the weight of it. I’m considering trying to get a massive piece of slate and projecting my finished website on to it. I think that would help give it a bit of a presence. However, I’m wondering about the wisdom of privileging one showing of the piece over another. One thing I like about digital art is the fact that it’s such a level playing field viewing wise. Showing it projected on to slate in a gallery context would be a privileged viewing situation, I think. The version with the slate would be more privileged than the one you see online. It also changes the status of the work in a participatory context.
The thing I like about the slate image is the weight, coldness and the fact that it reminds me of a fairly romantic, victorian idea of school. That in itself is interesting. It also reminds me a bit of how I (thoroughly incorrectly) imagine the ‘moment’ before the big bang. Questions about this idea then, are:
How do I find a piece of slate roughly three by four feet and half an inch thick? Does such a thing even exist?
How expensive will it be?
How would I hang such a ludicrously impractical object? Would I be able to hang it? Would I need to?
Does participatory work need less weight attached to it to work?
A key concern raised by usage of a slate is Tabula Rasa, the blank slate. This was Aristotle’s idea that people are born as a blank slate and they are formed by their subsequent experiences. In a linguistic sense at least this idea has been attacked by Noam Chomsky and the theory of Universal Grammar. Universal Grammar states that people are born with a language learning facility present, almost like an organ, in our brains from birth. All languages follow similar rules grammatically speaking and this is as a result of this organ. This theory is not universally accepted but it’s been important in 20th century linguistics to say the least. The term Tabula Rasa is tied fairly strongly to Universal Grammar. If I use a piece of slate, blank or not, the end result will be referent to both Aristotle and Chomsky’s ideas and a fair few other things besides. This seems a bit heavy bearing in mind the main reason for my liking the idea is the simple physicality of the object and some vague, quite personalised associations.
Other alternatives are a school blackboard, also a carrier of many connotations, and a blank canvas, which is probably the worst of the lot. I’m not sure what to say, then. It’s something I need to be conscious of, though.
Consider the question raised. Do I want to project my finished piece on to a prepared surface?