I recently attempted an installation for the fist time. This project was interesting, because I knew what I wanted to create, but had difficulty for a long time explaining the meaning of this installation. This is unusual for me; I typically have a definite meaning for what I am trying to create before I start any project. As this project progressed, I chose materials and subjects knowing I wanted them to be a part of the work, but only able to explain why in the vaguest of manners. However, as the installation continued, its meaning became clearer.
My installation is installed under a stairwell and features thousands of protruding spikes. The spikes represent outside stressors and the location under the stairs represents a state where a person can live, but not necessarily thrive. It also represents a person attempting to be discreet about their circumstances, though they are still blatantly obvious to the public. Also included are a mattress and chair with protruding spikes and a television playing a video loop of a tree gaining and losing its leaves. This installation represents a person who is experiencing an inability to relax or “turn their brain off” at the end of the day. When night comes, they are unable to relax, thus go back and forth between tossing and turning in bed and sitting uncomfortably in front of the television. The video loop of the tree represents a state without clarity. For example: is the tree dying, healing, going through a pattern of normal seasons, or going through an unhealthy pattern where everything is fine, only to not be fine again? The viewer cannot know for certain.
An unintended (but not particularly bad effect) came with the lighting. The stairwell was in close proximity to a very large window. Therefore, the lighting would change from bright to dark, depending on the time of the day. Though unplanned, I found this to be somewhat fitting to the project (though I must admit the dim lighting was the most appropriate).
Again, this is my first attempt at an installation, and the first time in a long time that I didn’t fully understand the meaning of what I was making until I started making it. I don’t think I am done with this project: I think it will be re-addressed in the future with more clarity and improved craftsmanship. The “unfinished” feel I have with this installation is part of the reason it does not have a title-it did at one time have a title, but I have since changed my mind. I don’t like to call a piece “Untitled” very often, but this one will have to wait a bit longer for a permanent name. Despite the fact that my own artwork feels a bit vague and unexplained even to myself, I greatly enjoyed this project. This will definitely not be my last installation!