I have finally gotten around to checking the stones from the installation, and have made a list of the stones/words that were no longer in the space when I deinstalled. Out of 704 words, 35 were missing. I had considered offering the stones for sale during Artomatic, but decided against it in order 1) to simplify my life and 2) to see how people interacted with the words without adding the layer of monetary worth on top of all the other possible “weights.”
I knew about one word that was gone for sure before the show ended. As I mentioned in an earlier post, someone left me a note letting me know that they had taken “soulmate” and that it would be a gift. I sure hope the recipient accepted it, but also continue to muse on the irony of someone “stealing” a stone with that word written on it. It would have been easy enough for the gifter to simply take the idea and write on their own stone. Also, would you want your soulmate to give you something they lifted and give it to you, presumably as an assurance that you were, in fact, their soulmate?
Then, Deb Jansen, a friend who had also participated in Artomatic, told me that she had taken four more stones (beautiful, awesome, powerful, and goddess) in the last hour of the show. I appreciate the honesty, and no problem, especially at the bitter end. Presumably no one else was going to use them this time around. And as she says, “Sometimes using actual written words in visual art – literally spelling it out for someone – can be that much more impactive, that much more healing for both the artist and the audience. A paintmarker taught me that.” SO … I’m glad to help and it’s good to know that I should replace those words. The stones themselves were pretty cheap (from a garden supply store, purchased in 50-lb bags) and covering them took a bit of work, but, really no big deal.
I was sure the word “bitch” would walk, but it didn’t. Also, some words may have been appealing to folks with light fingers, but because the stones varied in size, more tempting words written on larger, baseball-sized stones were less likely to disappear. Unfortunately, I chose the stone sizes fairly randomly, so I didn’t keep track of which words were on smaller or larger stones, and have no idea whether all the words that walked were on smaller stones. An interesting bit of info, if it were possible to find it. Oh well…
The total list is an interesting one (see below). It’s fun to imagine who might have taken which ones, and why. Too bad I didn’t have a stealth camera so I could find out.
artsy, awesome, badass, beautiful, bloodthirsty, cutthroat, dangerous, depressed, disabled, egghead, foxy, goddess, hip, hunk, independent, loud, misanthropic, Momma’s boy, noisy, OK, old-fashioned, poet, powerful, queer, ruthless, seductive, single, soulmate, survivor, swanky, sweet, transgender, truthful, user, vociferous
Another note – I am a copy editor and proofreader, but I am not perfect when I review my own work (no one is – that’s why proofreaders are so important!). After I had cross-checked the word list against the rocks, I discovered a few duplicates on the printed list AND a few duplicate stones. That’s what you get when you are dealing with over 700 items and Word and Excel don’t sort properly across formats (and you are exhausted and pressed to update lists at 2 am). I promise to check more thoroughly next time, for those of you who may care about these things…