For the past two years I’ve been working on an art installation called Sonder. This year my proposal to exhibit at Grand Rapids Public Museum for Art Prize 10 was accepted. I have been planning my finances and material purchases for this project but since I was given a larger venue than expected and my construction and material needs have changed, costs are higher than I budgeted.
I have received generous donations of unwanted clothing which has helped keep my costs down, but could still greatly benefit from both clothing and monetary donations. Monetary donations will assist with lumber and hardware for many clothesline structures and printmaking materials. If you can help with either of these that would be greatly appreciated! If a donation is not convenient for you right now, your support and your vote when it comes time for the show would be equally appreciated :)
Below is some information on Art Prize and my artist statement which explains the concept behind the piece. Attached are some sketches and samples of my work in progress.
Sonder Artist Statement:
This installation seeks to illustrate the word “sonder”-- the sudden realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. We may be struck by this wonder when we see a fallen handwritten note on the sidewalk, overhear a phone conversation, or drive past a family’s drying laundry. In your awareness of even a single other person you begin to grasp the magnitude of 7.6 billion coexisting realities all as specific, complex, and as important as your own.
Over the past two years I have been gathering fragments of overheard conversations from strangers, recording their words and noting a particular article of clothing the speaker was wearing. I have collected replicas of those garments on which each set of recorded words is hand-stamped. These garments will be displayed on a series of clotheslines, which illustrates our choice to put intimate details of our life on display while accepting the curious gaze of others.
This installation is meant to inspire wonder in the strangers around us. It aims not just to promote curiosity but to explore our capacity for empathy for a stranger. No matter what narrative we assign to contextualize these vague words, we should acknowledge their significance. Sonder considers our ability or inability to escape our own self-importance in exchange for a more realistic interpretation of our identity as a dot among a sea of dots. It recognizes that hope of a richer perspective of humanity begins with acute awareness of others.
Art Prize: Art Prize is an international art competition held annually since 2009 in Grand Rapids, MI. The entire exhibition is independently organized by venues and artists who apply to show their work in 160 different venues—museums, galleries, bars, restaurants, theaters, hotels, public parks, lobbies, buildings, walls, bridges, laundromats, and even auto body shops. It grants $500,000 in awards to artists which are decided by both public vote and a jury of professionals.
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