You Affect My Effect

eggs, dye, words from the Gettysburg Address, and a movable grid made of salt and string, 2016

This work invited participants on the Friday after the 2016 presidential election, to express how the election affected them by choosing a color for an egg and combining two words from the Gettysburg Address.

Directions to Viewers:

  1. Choose 2 words from the Gettysburg Address that best defines the state you are in.
  2. Place one on the Y axis and one on the X axis on the big grid.
  3. Take an egg.
  4. Color it.
  5. Place your egg in the square on the grid where your Y and X meet.
  6. If you want to switch out any of the other words on the X and Y axis, do.

As more viewers participated, words got replaced and moved around on the grid. As a result, the original words from other participants changed and their egg was left with two new words. I am interested in how our affects effect those around us. How much do we change, when we exchange?

When I made this piece, I thought about these questions. When Abraham Lincoln spoke the Gettysburg Address, did he think syntax could heal us? When Agnes Martin drew a tender grid, did she really think it would have an effect on the viewer? When the rubric I create as a teacher doesn’t live in the same universe as the product I’m grading, can I alter my original criteria?

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