For my project I googled “art intervention” and after looking at many of the images listed under that name I decided that I kind of wanted to do some sort of installation, some sort of sculpture-ish thing in a place and I wanted that place to be Duke’s campus. With a little influence from one of my favorite artists, Barbara Kruger and her recent involvement with W magazine in their latest issue which happened to be the “Art Issue” I decided to do this project. It was really important for me to feel like I was making a commentary about something at Duke, about Duke, relating to Duke life and I think that a major part of my life here at Duke and many students’ lives here is appearance. I think not only with the media news and issues that Duke has created for its public image lately (scandals, leaked fake theses, etc) and just the type of student social life that we promote or at least lead here on campus that appearance and perception is very very important. Duke is very much about social life, social climbing, appearance, social classes and norms, the greek life has something to do with this as well. I think that its easy to get stuck in the Duke bubble and not realize that all that is within these walls, within the privacy of this elite institution, this private campus, the seemingly infinite resources and tools and opportunities, the golden atmosphere where we might feel like because we go here we’re special, invincible almost, all that —isn’t all that’s out there in reality, in the real world, in the world outside that only encompasses Duke as a very small piece of the entire puzzle. So I thought to expose the hierarchy on campus, the social structure that is somewhat corrupt or skewed or just a little bit sketchy, I wanted to install large mirrors in strategic places on campus. Mirrors that are maybe like 4 feet wide and 8 feet tall that could stand upright like in a doorway in the middle of the bus stop, on the main quad, in the Bryan Center, in the middle of east campus, on the plaza, and Perkins. That way students would have to run into these huge mirrors and would probably stop to look in it, look at themselves, and maybe, look into themselves. And even if they don’t it just shows the mentality on campus, how we don’t have the time to stop and look at ourselves, what we’re wearing, who we are, what we’re doing, what we are PROJECTING. And I wasn’t really sure that that would get the point across completely so I thought, with the Barbara Kruger reference, that I could put some sayings, some text on the top of the mirrors or around the edges of the mirrors, text like
“LOOK AT ME”
“Who’s the fairest of them all?”
“Things aren’t always as they seem”
“What do you desire?”
“How do I look?”
For the physical project I did my original procedure on a smaller scale and this is how it turned out.