Studio Practice



Exhibit: Value Judgements 

What counts is science? Where is the line between medicine and quackery? How did that line get drawn? How important is it that information is printed, rather than simply written into a personal notebook? What happens when you remove information from its identifying container? Value judgements is an interactive exhibit that explores these questions and others. 

The symptoms produced by love as a disease are as follow: An example of one passage included in the exhibit.

Each passage included within the exhibit has been selected from an early modern English scientific publication, herbal, recipe book, or household manual, and calligraphed in walnut ink onto ninety-pound arches hot-pressed watercolor paper. 

Calligraphed passages waiting to be added to the cordel

Calligraphed passages drying before being separated

Value Judgements Cordel
Value Judgement exhibit prior to audience participation
Passages are hung on a string in the fashion of Literatura de Cordel, a late 19thand early 20thcentury Brazilian publication format.

Walking down one side of the cordel

The embodied experience of reading a cordel is what drew me to the structure for this exhibit. The audience is forced to interact with the information on the cordelin a way unlike any other creating a much stronger bodily response than a traditional reading experience as the reader is required to physically move from one passage to the next. 

Audience members are encouraged to make their own decisions about what they consider to be science and add their response to the collection itself. Adding a participatory element to the cordel as Value Judgements does, heightens this experience and forces readers to interact more intimately with the writing, often causing a deeper, richer response.

An audience member adds her judgements to the cordel with starched muslin ribbons

Audience members participating in the exhibit

Audience members read and discuss passages on the cordel

As more audience members participated in the exhibit, the true "hairiness" of trying to answer these questions became clear.

Audience member decisions begin to create more visual draw than the passages themselves

In contrast to the clear, precise calligraphy, this mess seemed to truly illustrate the confusion and messiness of determining what counts as fact and whose voices are valuable.

Value Judgements was shown again on May 6, 2019 at the John Martin Rare Book Room from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm. 

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