I’ve decided to collect sentences written by a random assortment of people about their own conceptions of identity for my 20% Project. I solicited people through Facebook, e-mail, and face to face in order to generate around 50 Life Lines— sentences written by people about themselves. The survey’s main question was “Write what is most important for people to know about you in one short sentence. You can provide a brief autobiography, sum up your plans for the future, or try to relay your beliefs in one statement. Try to say something that only you could say, and remember, it doesn’t just have to be an “I” statement.” The responses to this question were then collected and organized. In this project, I definitely shot for baroque autobiographical statements and got a lot more. Some people gave witty responses, others gave their entire life story, some people submitted vulgarities– all in all the anonymous aspect of this project made it incredibly interesting to work on. Authenticity was probably the biggest of my concerns. Who was being genuine? And, how could I genuinely represent their comments in a visual way?
I asked for volunteers to help illustrate certain responses in either literal drawings or abstract art. All illustrations were about the size of a post card and were cut from white poster board. I had a large gathering of friends at my house to help create the visuals. I encouraged them to create something they thought was inherently indicative of what the Life Line author was trying to convey. Even these illustrations were somewhat autobiographical acts because they were the artist’s creative interpretation of the Life Line. Most of my friends and volunteers took their “job” very seriously. They really embodied the worries and hopes of the Life Line authors, and wished to really represent them well– this surprised me and added a complex element of communal authenticity to the work.
Then I did a Prezi in order to present all of the gathered sentences and illustrations. It is ultimately a pretty interesting collection and span of autobiographical material, and I think I have created a really impressive, and appropriate, visual to show for it.