Monday, November 23, 2009
Adrian Piper - Everything Will Be Taken Away
The “Everything” series, began in 2003, this piece may cause people to question what it is that drives them. Materials included ink made of henna, which would be applied to the participants’ foreheads in a manner so that you could easily read it when looking in a mirror. She had the participants keep this on their forehead until it wore off which would be approximately two weeks. She had the participants keep journals of people’s reactions, and then re-read them one year after this social experiment. This phrase was also applied to mirrors, and photographs of people, and also of some natural disasters.
Addressing some of the social issues in our society, this phrase is a reminder that everything will eventually taken away, either naturally or by force. This may not apply to just material possessions, this could also apply to friends, family members, or loved ones. In the modern times of greed, corruption, and the seemingly constantly decreasing regard for people or their feelings this work, like her earlier Calling Card piece, is small in physical form, but could have an exponentially larger impact on people as they may begin to question what drives them everyday, and for some, to perhaps do some soul searching and get determine what their priorities really are.
I’m reminded of Elbert Hubbard who was quoted as saying “Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive.” This work is a great personification of this train of thought. Piper’s extensive background in philosophy is an apparent influence for this. This work also refers to the darker side human tendencies just like psychologist Stanley Milgram’s Shock Experiment, where participants were administering what they thought to be increasingly higher voltage shocks to subjects who would give incorrect responses. While people would scream in pain, they would continue to give the shock. Piper was passive-aggressive in causing people to come to terms with their own bad habits.