Made by Tonya Sedgwick
Created: November 7th, 2014
Curatorial Statement: Working in the spirit of pop art, I have taken images that are generally seen and repeated them across the space. These images include common mathematics symbols (partial derivatives and similar signs) and symbols from the street (the walk/don't walk light and a handicapped symbol). These images fit into the area of pop art (as done by Warhol) because they are 'found' images that are seen and in many ways invisible due to their constant appearance in day-to-day life. The engineering theme comes about in multiple ways. The mathematical symbols are directly from engineering that humans do to create objects. The human body, on the other hand, is engineered by nature. The human body assisted by technology (such as a wheelchair) joins these two forms of engineering (natural and man-made). Furthermore, the transformation from walking to wheeling is drawn from the Disability Rights Movement, which asserts that there are two kind of people in the world: the differently abled and the temporarily able bodied. The differently abled are those of us who cannot perform actions that the temporarily able bodied take for granted. The temporarily able bodied are those who have not yet become differently abled. There is no such thing as being "able bodied" because everyone's body deteriorates over time, or is prone to injury and/or illness. The piece represents the confluence of naturally engineered bodies and human-engineered bodies--where the differently abled are able to gain more mobility.
Account of the Process: This assignment was very difficult for me. Because I was required to use a computer medium, and because I have absolutely no experience using any kind of software outside of Microsoft Office products and several other word processors, I was at a loss as to how to create a piece of art that expressed something using a computer (I am not an engineer nor a computer science major--I major in decision science, and we only use computers for Word, Powerpoint, and Excel). It took me a long time to come up with a project that would be feasible for me to do. When I finally did so, I cropped images I found online. Having only uniform colors didn't look very good, though, so I attempted to tweak the colors of some of the elements (like Warhol did with his different variations). However, doing this given the tools I was capable of using was hard. I settled on only two of the elements, balanced by the rule of thirds on the page. I chose red for one, because of the nature of red as a warning sign. I chose to whitewash another because of the transience of temporarily able bodied-ness.
Reflection: When I look at the piece I see two rows of repeating symbols and two rows of repeating forms. It almost makes me think of petroglyphs. Balance is created by their pattern, but also by the two places where the pattern is broken. Because I have the historical knowledge, the message seems cut and dry, although I do not know that someone who is not aware of the Disability Rights Movement would get the message. However, I do believe that they would see the connection between engineering and bodies. In this way, I am not certain that I see the piece as being successful (although it was the best I could do given the limitations). Prior to this semester, had I seen this artwork, I probably would have still recognized its connect to pop art (I have taken art history-based coursework and went to the Andy Warhol Museum last summer). I would not have thought in terms of balance, however.