Subject to Change
Nathan's reflection on his 4" Binding Unbound book page

Dr. Kraft describes: Overlaid with plastic and black marker; his idea was to invite and incite the viewer to alter his piece. To this end, he provided markers and what he thought might be controversial statements that would impel the viewers to make changes. The photograph that I sent was before the exhibit and shows the piece as it looked before any changes; unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to photograph his piece afterwards. The “Santa” alteration he refers to is actually in reference to the “Bush=Satan” words on the piece, to which someone added “=Santa” at the end.)

Nathan writes: “The fact that the viewers had such a big role in my piece made it a lot easier for me to convey my concept. All I had to do was cover up most of my work and then give a layer so the viewers could change it as they liked. I still maintain that my creative process and the way I applied art theory to my piece is moot. My concept was the viewer’s interpretation, so it might as well be the viewers [sic] creative process, and, in most cases unbeknownst to them, the art theory that they furthered when altering my piece. The viewers deserve to explicate my work, by no means should I stomp on the feet of their artistic intention.

“While working on my piece I couldn’t get Plato’s notion that art is an inferior past time out of my head, but I accompanied this thought with the thought that even a driftwood could be considered a piece of art. I think I came to a better understanding of art theory through the creation of my piece. Although I spent lots of diligent time working with it, I ended up covering most of it up. This frustrating destructive process further distanced me from my own piece and gave the viewers a vital role. I expected the viewers to have a role, but upon the destruction of most of my piece their role became vital. Their role was no longer a nice addition, but it was the piece. Can there be art without a viewer? For my piece this was not possible, and after debating this question all semester (and a little before this semester) I think that there must be a viewer to interpret/misinterpret art, otherwise it’s just scribbles on paper or the equivalent.

“I remember gazing from a distant [sic] at a frustrated but timid woman as she held the marker right in front of my piece. She seemed flustered, surely this art piece could not have a negative statement about our wonderful president Bush. Finally after a bit of encouragement . . . she decided to change the piece to what it was clearly supposed to mean. Her one word addition changed the entire concept of my piece. I don’t like president Bush, but apparently my work says that he is Santa and I have no control over that. . . I think that my piece embodied the ideas [of art theory that I tried to convey] very well. I engaged the audience, offended some of them, but mainly forced them to participate.”