Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jigs as the Finished Work: Working Ideas

From necessity carpenters and sculptors build jigs to assist in the creation of their work. Such jigs have always fascinated and attracted me, whether they are simple blocks of wood cut to a certain shape and size or more intricate and complex affairs that defy understanding to the unitiated. Something about how aesthetics are not at all a concern for most jigs, how the issues of function dictate every decision in their creation. they are pure for that reason, uncorrupted and unaffected.

I am also fascinated by how jigs rarely give enough information to a viewer to extrapolate the appearance of the finished item. Sometimes that appearance is even obscured.

Some project ideas involving 'jigs':

build jigs that perform a function (or at least appear to do so) but do not show the items made. Make a series: start with a simple jig and repeat it, adding more complex additions with each step. The effect might be as if illustrating a step-by-step process. Consider teasing the viewer's imagination by also presenting raw materials, stacked and ready to be used in the jig. These materials should be specific enough to seem plausibly usable with the jigs but not so specific as to spell out HOW they are used. In providing the materials needed to use the the jig for its stated purpose, you are creating a public interactive workspace but one where I do not truly expect the viewer to actually make the work. It will remain perpetually unrealized. Is this a form of cynicism? Step by step images or a finished version might be provided as a guide or enticement for the viewer. But there should be vagueries and open-ended aspects that allow the viewer to interpret/misinterepret things.

Make a fairly complex looking jig, complete with hinges, straps, electronics, etc and presenting the jig as if it were a self-improvement device.

Things we could claim the jig can do:

"A scheduling conflict reducer/eliminator"

"A middle-age life-clarity device

"An allergy alleviator"

List problems of contemporary life and make a jig that claims to solve/eradicate each one. Some could solve multiple problems. Some possibilities: temperature instability, mercury remover, object shrinking device (enables storage in smaller spaces)

stereotype relief-masks traits considered stereotypical; gives others a different impression-worn as a necklace the device uses holograph and laser technology to reform your features into atypical and unusual forms. Simple set-up comes with 18 built in stereotypical settings and the ability to create custom settinngs from a menu of pre-determined choices

Could we somehow combine these ideas in subtle ways with the hidden utility box project?

Simply make a jig looking like it could be used to construct something (much like the utility boxes were objects that looked like they were designed and had a purpose) and attach the purpose through signage or other collateral material.

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