Self-Initiated, 2011~

In collaboration with Seung-Jin Chung

This project stemmed from a discussion on the definition of public art. Does public art mean an art piece in a public space or does it need participation of public? Does the public include everyone walking down the street? What are the standards for the piece to be called 'art?' What is the boundary between art and design?

We defined 'public art' as an artifact that generates participatory act in a public space. To practice this in a more 'designerly way', we chose an artifact with a strong affordance. We experimented with a cast and a marker pen which bring up the experience of writing on a friend's cast or your own. Normally messages written on this object are quite personal and positive. By transforming this individual object into a platform for a participatory act, we wanted to find out maintenance of this behavior in our settings.

The very first experiment was to test whether or not people will write on the cast. We set up a desk with a cast along with marker pens in front of a cafe in Yonsei University, Seoul. People passing by wrote messages on the cast, but there was lack a of consistency among messages. Our next plan is to keep testing different versions of this cast. Since Seung-Jin and I live in two different cities(Seoul and Los Angeles), we thought about a story of a cast traveling around the world to collect messages. By doing little experiments, we intend to compare general and relative activities of people, to see if there is a cultural difference depending on different locations, and to provoke different reflection within the individuals experiencing it.

Our original intention was to consider the material of a cast and follow its own ritual. Because, plaster remains static for a certain amount of time before it gets broken into pieces, we were brainstorming about phases of this cast - generation, evolution and disappearance. However, we decided to focus on people's psychological relation of this cast.

How would people react to this clean cast seemingly detached from someone's foot? Would this cast be perceived as a standstill object or an object that voluntarily walked here? Would a cast for a foot create different meanings than a cast for a shoulder? The irony between an image of a foot as kinetic and plaster as something static is also interesting. We are still unsure about the quantity, size, location and display of the cast, but specific rules will be set soon.