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The Project by Terrin Morris

The Project is an accumulation of experiments in the fields of science, marketing, and art. The experiment has transitioned from an analysis of impartial data collection. It is now a work that comments on the intricacies of our lives as they are intertwined with the internet. This artwork was created through data collection and interpretation. It uses marketing strategies to comment on the fine arts world. The project is comprised of four components that each have a distinct result.

Step 1. Sample. I put up a front, posing as the "National Survey Initiative." I have extended the survey to those around me, but at an arms distance. I wanted the survey to be removed from my own identity, or other's perception of me as a person. This, in itself, is part of the performative nature of the piece. Not unlike the Happenings of Allan Kaprow, this piece aims to be a collaborative work, a break from reality, and also a commentary on it. The piece lives within all of its aspects, not a singular portion. The Survey samples a broad array of seemingly random aspects of life. I utilized my authorship as the artist of the piece to select questions that are not without bias. The Survey is cooperative in nature, in that other people have provided the fodder to which I create my artwork.

Step 2. Data. The data was approached in a dry scientific manner. This is in stark contrast compared to the rest of the project. There is a clear "winner" and "loser" with each question. The numbers signify what aspect of the work will continue to the next portion of the project. Reviewing this data provided the fodder for the next portion of my work, potentially without the approval of my participants. This adds to my commentary on the current marketing practices that are commonly used.

Step 3. Interpret. Having statistically determined the "winning" aspects of each question, I then incorporated it into my artistic vision. For each "winning" fragment, I made an aggressively broad statement about humanity/life, that is potentially/likely completely wrong. This is a commentary on how data can lead people to reach valuable, and invaluable conclusions. But for the purpose of this artwork, all the conclusions are valuable and lead to the next phase.

Step 4. Creation. I used each of these interpretations to create a work of artwork that I value. Although it is, theoretically based on what a majority values, it is quite possible for my participants to not value it at all. In the end I will have a work that is extremely open to interpretation. I thought a lot about, not only my own analysis, but the results of the survey. There were so many ways to interpret this data. My voice heavily influenced the “final” portion of the project. This is a good commentary on both the art world and design/marketing sphere of influence.

The main point of the project developed from The Most Wanted Paintings (http://awp.diaart.org/km/index.html) by Russian artist duo, Komar and Melamid. Komar and Melamid utilize the process of a survey as well. This survey project reinforces the artists’ own importance, by apparently proving that people statistically like bad art, or don’t know what they want. The Place (https://www.reddit.com/r/place/) in Reddit also added to the inspiration of my project. It incorporates the internet to create a collaborative project that adds to the beauty, personality, and creativity that exists in internet culture. This project is influenced by the documentary shown about subliminal messaging entitled The Century of Self. My work reinforces some marketing practices that exist, but almost in a mocking expository manner. It goes so far as to question what data is worth. Not unlike our reading on JPEG creation by Cory Arcangel, my work is symbolic of the thought and care that lies directly beneath the surface of every piece of art. It showcases that there is truly no unbiased artwork. As universalism would claim there is a way to be unbiased through design. I believe my work directly refutes that.