Systems aesthetics (2014)


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In my final semester of undergraduate Fine Art studies, I embarked on an interrogation of the Institution-At-Large, extending my visual practice to generate a series of new works. In the synthesis of these aims, I  deviated from the typically measured strategy of my past projects in favour of rapid, experimental gestures.

Rather than pursuing the didacticism of narrative intent, this project was an early attempt to evacuate, dismantle,intervene, reconfigure and activate the amorphous ideologies associated with systems, organizations and networks.

Inherent in this attempt was myriad potentials for interpretation across many frameworks, including sociology, post-structuralism and systems dynamics. As defined by sociologist William R.Scott, institutions may be viewed as multifaceted, durable social structures, composed of symbolic/relational systems, routines and artifacts of material culture.(1) Conversely, systems theorist Jay W. Forrester defines a system as a simple “…grouping of parts that operate together for a common purpose.”(2)


Using these empirical cartographies as a starting point, I developed a series of visual outcomes via on-hand materials that were readily accessible and prolific within my immediate social collectives. These included digital webcams, office stationary, appropriated paintings, furniture, and textbooks.


(1) William R. Scott, Institutions and Organizations (2nd ed), Sage Publications, USA, 2001, pg 49.
(2) Jay W. Forrester, Principles of Systems, Productivity Press, Portland, 1971, pg 1.1