Weigh Your Words was first installed as part of Artomatic 2012 in Crystal City, VA. Artomatic is a wonderful free-for-all for DC-area artists of any age and ability. I like to use it as a way to stretch myself and try out new ideas. This installation had been brewing in my imagination for about a year, so I jumped at the opportunity to try it out during the 6-week run.
For the Artomatic installation in 2012, which was open to the public and had to be left relatively unattended as people interacted with it, I presented a few ways for people to play with descriptive nouns and adjectives with the hope that they would think a bit more deeply about the words they use to describe themselves and others. Our love-hate relationship with self-descriptors is often linked to experiences in school (bullying, cliques, etc.) so I arranged this space into a disjointed school setting, offering a few environments in which people could play with the words, sort them, weigh them (literally and figuratively).
For Artomatic, in part because the venue was indoors and I had walls I could screw things into, I included a few extra activities:
A blackboard with assignments – this described how to use the other parts of the installation. I supplied an eraser and extra chalk, so as the show progressed, the instructions disappeared and were replaced with notes, word suggestions, and assorted graffiti.
Three shelves with mirror behind them on which to compose a self-portrait or poem. Participants could take a photo of their portrait or poem and send it to me so that I could upload it to this site (use the contact form on the Self-portrait page). Only a few people participated fully with this portion by sending in images – but those few were worth it! Thanks especially to the “positive words” guy and Mr. Foster.