Factings

Factings (2022)

38" x 38" x 38" (each cube)

Wood, paper, transparency film, acrylic, metal hardware, clothespins, fish line, glue, monitor, digitized video.

Video: 6:33 minutes

Factings colocates the aspirations and limitations of empirical psychology and aesthetic minimalism, where both use strategies of flattening and essentializing to "reveal" facts or truths.

 

The video and transparency sheets reflect comparable strategies of flattening used across cognitive psychology studies to isolate "factors" in question. Whether a study regards humans' awareness or perception of gravity, objects or race, the factor or "phenomenon" at issue is often imbued with tantamount characteristics of naturalness, concreteness and stability.

Minimalist art -- which emerged within about a decade of the "cognitive revolution" in psychology -- presented an object's "facts" -- color, form, size and material -- as a "radical" invitation to viewers to become self-aware through their senses. Yet while these objects were "self-evidently" unencumbered by symbolic, functional, or personally expressive agendas to the mostly white men who created them, the ability to make, access, see, ambulate around and decode their "purity" required different kinds of privilege.

 

My aim in juxtaposing minimalism and psychology is not to merely condemn both, but to put their parallel aspirations and limitations in conversation, ultimately bringing in Donna Haraway's faith in science and the meditative, consciousness-expanding, embodying potential of the minimalist impulse.

 

Detail views (click to enlarge):