Facebook Wall Drawings

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Facebook Wall Drawings





In this update, I embedded Sol LeWitt's wall drawing system into Facebook's profile system. Sol LeWitt's work takes off from the idea, make artworks that are directions for drawing on walls. By deliberately misinterpreting his use of the word "wall", I merge the different conceptions of "wall" present in both systems. By updating the notion of "wall" in LeWitt's work and allowing the present to flow into a system of the past, new dissonances and harmonies between the two emerge, and previously inaccessible conclusions become clear.

The two systems

Sol LeWitt's wall drawings and Facebook both exist as visual experiences, phenomena, and systems of transaction. Here are the aspects of each system that I consider most significant:

Wall Drawings Facebook Profile
  • Visual experience
    • Two-dimensional
    • Rooted in the graphical
  • Phenomenon
    • Always executed by proxy
    • Impermanent
    • Exists most reliably as information
    • An exhibition of the artist's ideas
  • System of transaction
    • Viewers absorb the work from the gallery walls
    • Artist's concept and draftsman's execution share the foreground
    • Artist has less control over the final product
  • Visual experience
    • Two-dimensional
    • Rooted in the textual
  • Phenomenon
    • Conventionally never executed by proxy
    • Mutable but extremely persistant, once put on display can not easily be erased
    • Exists most reliably as information
    • An exhibition of the profiled person's personality
  • System of transaction
    • Viewers absorb the work as rendered by their computer
    • Viewers are able to participate in the creation of the profile through a graphical and textual "wall"
    • Profiled person is displayed through the glass of Facebook's interface design
    • Artist has a majority of control over the final project

The effects of superimposition

Sol LeWitt's work raised the persistent question, is a work legitimate if it did not come directly from the artist's hand? My update merges this question with a new one: can a Facebook profile be legitimate if it is not the product of the profiled person's hand? This naively rephrases the modern issue of identity theft as an old artistic question.

Also, this work highlights an aspect of the Facebook profile that has been largely undiscussed and unexplored: it is a free exhibition space. Though it is meant to indicate something about a person's true nature and their actual friendships, it need not be--it is simply a repository for whatever information you want to put into it. This echoes the subversiveness in Sol LeWitt's idea that drawing on gallery walls could be a legitimate method of exhibition.

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