Tag: artistically irrational

Restraining Order: The Art of Self-Control

Jan 25

Tomorrow night is the opening of my lab’s art show on self-control, and we interviewed a few of our artists to get their take on the project and self-control in general.

Restraining Order: The Art of Self-Control from Advanced Hindsight on Vimeo.

See more on the Artistically Irrational project here.

Call for Artists to Respond to Research on Self-control

Sep 07

Artists from around the world are invited to attend a discussion on self-control entitled “Restraining Order: The Art of Self-Control” as the next part of the “Artistically Irrational” exhibition series on Wednesday, September 26th at 7 PM EST. (Artists who do not live within driving distance of Durham, NC will be able to watch the forum streaming online.)

Interested artists should RSVP to the curator, Catherine Howard, at artisticallyirrational@gmail.com by Monday, September 24th by 9 PM.

After the forum, artists interested in creating artwork in response to the research will submit a 1-page proposal and 2-3 digital images of past work. To be considered, applications must be submitted by Friday, October 5th at 9 PM.

Artists will be notified if they are selected to participate by Monday, October 8th and will receive a $100 stipend to complete their piece. There is no limitation to the style or media of pieces created for “Restraining Order,” but the exhibit includes an exercise in self-control embedded in the artistic process. All selected artists will be required to work on their pieces for the entire period leading up to the due date and will send weekly photos to document the progression of the piece. All completed art works must be received by Friday, December 7th.

Artwork created for “Restraining Order” will be on display at the Center for Advanced Hindsight from December 14th, 2012 to February 22nd, 2013 with a reception on Saturday, January 26th, 2013 from 6-9 pm.

Artists will retain all rights to their piece. Works will be returned to artists after the exhibit by March 15th, 2013. If the piece is purchased, the $100 stipend will be deducted from the purchase price.

Important Deadlines

September 26, 7pm — Forum at the Center for Advanced Hindsight

October 5, 9pm — Deadline to submit artwork proposal

December 7, 9pm — Drop-off deadline

January 26, 6–9pm — Opening reception at the CAH

I ______ a dollar?

Jul 28

As part of the PoorQuality: Inequality exhibition that is currently on display at the CAH, we are showing a piece of art by Jody Servon entitled “I ______  a dollar.” This piece started out as one hundred $1 bills stuck flat against the wall. The bills hung there in a simple, uniform shape, Washington after Washington. The money was there for the taking, but only if you needed it. Jody asked viewers to think about the value of a single dollar, to contemplate their “needs” in relation to their “wants.”

Featuring: Cara Ansher. Photographed by: Aline Grüneisen.

“My hope is for people to actively consider whether or not having this single dollar will make a difference in his or her life, or if they feel the dollar is better left for someone else who needs it more. Perhaps the invitation to take free money will eclipse the question of want vs. need.”

A week went by, and one dollar disappeared. Afraid that the piece would dissolve too quickly, one lab member replaced the missing dollar. The art was whole again. More time went by, and another lab member needed change for the vending machine. So she took five singles and left her $5 bill. We treated the piece as if it was our own, moving bills around but preserving its integrity. The wall of money remained, for the most part, intact.

We asked Jody about her expectations for the piece.

“Among the scenarios I considered were one person swiping all of the dollars on the first day, the dollars slowly disappearing one-by-one, someone rearranging the dollars in a different design, or somewhat disappointingly, the piece remaining on the wall untouched.”

But the wall did not remain untouched, and one day it encountered a group of guests who came in on a particularly quiet day and left with most of the money. Sure, we were a little annoyed; our precious wall had been ransacked. But that was its purpose, and we laughed it off. At least we had a good story, right?

Some time later, one of the ransackers returned. This time, the CAH was bustling, full of people and lively conversation. He walked in, saw the commotion, and hesitated for just a moment before telling us that he was hungry. We don’t have any food here, but there are plenty of restaurants down the street, we told him. Of course, he was not asking where he could buy food. We knew that. But none of us jumped up to offer what was left of the money hanging on the wall. It was art, after all.

Here we were, hosting an exhibit on “inequality,” and there was no doubt that this man lay farther down on the distribution of wealth than any of us. And in all of our musings on the exhibit, never did we think that we might find ourselves faced with the perfect case of actual inequality.

Until this moment, we had primarily used and conceived of the wall of bills as a cashier. Yes, we contemplated whether we needed or simply wanted a dollar. But most of us don’t need a dollar. In the end, this experience may be the ultimate experiment of our project. And we stumbled into it unintentionally, or rather, he stumbled into our gallery.

A collaboration between Dan Ariely & Aline Grüneisen

The PoorQuality: Inequality Exhibit will be up until the end of August (and we will see whether there are any dollar bills left).

The Artistically Irrational Exhibition Series

Jun 15

When we decided to create the Artistically Irrational series, we hoped to catalyze the scientific process by bringing art directly into the place where we work and think.

Behavioral research is an indispensable tool for social scientists looking to understand and comment on the fascinating world in which we find ourselves. Controlled experiments allow us to measure and reflect on issues ranging from injustice to advertising, the taste of beer to medical conflicts of interest, and even social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Such experiments allow us to reliably test whether our intuitions about the world are true and figure out when, how, and why we are wrong. Art fills a similar void, filtering ideas and motivations through individual sensibilities, then taking the result and crystallizing it into something more or less universal. And although there are many differences between the worlds of Science and Art, both can provide useful social commentary. In fact, it is these very differences that invite a discussion between the two. We hope that, through this project, the scientific and artistic approaches can fertilize one another and expand the lines of communication between two fields that have so much in common but speak to one another so rarely.

The Artistically Irrational exhibition series is essentially an experiment in feedback loops. Each project begins with a discussion of social science research on a particular topic and a request for artists to express themselves through their art. Then, surrounded by the fruits of their labor, we get to further reflect on our research through their eyes, using their insights to enrich the meaning of our studies.

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Creative Dishonesty: Cheat Codes

The first show revolved around our research on cheating and dishonesty. After I spoke to a group of artists, they went back to their studios and put together their interpretations of our findings. They came back with a range of pieces exploring the nature of dishonesty – especially as it related to their own practices. Several artists investigated the moral status of artistic “borrowing” and the thin line between appropriation and flat-out plagiarism. One artist played with the idea of citation, which is virtually nonexistent in art but is a practice with rigid requirements in the sciences (see APA, 2010). Another considered how the mere label of “art” affects how we experience something, whether it is a flattened steel grid or a topsy turvy urinal. Other artists examined the spiral of bad decisions that can spring from one little transgression, and how moral reminders or cleansing rituals can help us correct our misdeeds and start over. Many explored the ways that we lie to others and ourselves, how we hold distorted worldviews and memories – and the rationalizations that go along with them.

All of these pieces revolved around an interesting finding of our research: the tendency of creatives to be less honest than non-creatives. As David Hockney said, “the moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you’re an artist.”

A Sample from the Show:

(click on images for larger view)

Photos taken by Aline Grüneisen

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And because the Creative Dishonesty exhibit was such a success, we decided to host another art show, this time following the theme of social and economic inequality, wealth distribution, and what is so taxing about taxation. This exhibit, PoorQuality: Inequality has just been installed and will accompany me in the Center for Advanced Hindsight until August 31.

If you can make it, I highly recommend coming to our opening reception on June 22 from 6 – 10 PM.

For more photos and information about the Artistically Irrational exhibition series, see our website or contact curator Catherine Howard at artisticallyirrational@gmail.com



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