Still looking

Day 1

I’m hopscotching my way through articles & comments this morning, starting at the Opinion page on the online New York Times, through to websites that are mentioned, then from there to linked articles… . At the end of the line, it’s people shouting into the wind: either they’re declaring how much their viewpoints are bolstered by the story, or they’ve come to argue. There isn’t any real discussion, mostly pointing fingers (“you idiot!”) about facts they dispute. So far, no one is there to learn anything from anyone else. But they have a lot to say. The biggest thing worth noting is that in just this one article I’m reading, there are almost 1500 comments since it originally published 24 hours ago.

I’ll complete a piece by midnight tonight, and post a photo of it tomorrow morning, February 2.

These are the blank slates


This Line of Questioning
9.5″ x 11″
encaustic & oil on panels placed into a boxed painted panel.

At the beginning of this project, all I see is blank slates.

Where I will find what I’m looking for, what I will have to look through before I find it… I have ideas of these but I won’t know until the day I start, February 1st. I’ve made a couple trial attempts. I’ve searched locally (my own social media sites) and I’ve searched far (the places I’d never look if it wasn’t for this project: chat rooms in the dark corners of the internet.) For This Line of Questioning I scrolled through days’ worth of comments on a very active YouTube video. People gathered there to argue, name call, yell their ideas to no one in particular. I finally found three small comments from one user, one after another. I’d searched back through hundreds of comments before I found the only ones that calmly stated little things that tried to bridge the gap between opposing points of view. “This line of questioning easily works for you too. All you need is to switch seats with the person you are asking. :)” Something generous from someone anonymous. From here to there, one person to others, searching for understanding. It was the perfect place to rest myself before launching into 28 days of daily searching, finding, and responding with artwork.

Two blank slates with layers of buried color. One floating, one boxed in. Letters pressed into permanence from transitory comments that scroll away and almost disappear.

This search is the line of questioning that I’m making.

“I Will Find” with Kianga Ellis Projects

During the month of February, I will make daily artwork that responds to online interactions. I will look for an individual’s kind response to others on the internet, via public and semi-public platforms. The process is an experiment, without certainty about what will be discovered. When technology and social media mitigate the responsibility for harsh words, how much hostility will have to be sorted through before kindness is found? How difficult will it be to find the good in the most contentious online discussions and does it change anything? Each day, I will search for one source interaction, then will make one artwork (painting, photography, work on paper, video, or sculpture) based on the  source. The experience will be documented by blog at the beginning of the month, as well as each seventh day until the twenty-eighth day. At the conclusion of the month, I will make one photographic print of each artwork and send them out gratis to twenty-eight individuals.

– Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Presented exclusively online with Kianga Ellis Projects.