Tabula Rasa

participate: peace love and rock n roll, DeYoung, Mark John

Participatory Design Installation | Design Gallery | Kalamazoo, Michigan

Tabula Rasa participatory event invited viewers to become participants and to create their own patterns, texts and images through the use of large wall grids. The grids were made of tree-limb slices painted either white, black or left as bare untreated wood. The public interacted with the wall grids by removing, turning and/or moving individual slices to make use of either the white or black sides of the pieces or in some cases the bare, untreated wood.

The organic, informal quality of the grids helps to overcome cultural conventions regarding interacting with creative work. The playful environment lowers the threshold for participation and welcomes viewer involvement. The informal wood slices with their irregular organic shapes create a point of contrast from the more often seen digital media exploration on participatory pieces.  It brings participatory design, now common in the digital world, to the analog, physical world. The participants interacted not only with the work but with each other, collaborating and socializing while they removed, flipped and rehung the slices. The installation undermines the traditional distinction between maker and viewer. The public venue undermines the exception of the gallery space, opening the exhibition venue to the entire college community–directly entertaining Enzenburger’s notion of emancipatory media.

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DIY Design Theory Helsinki

DIY Design Theory: Helsinki Design Week, Mark John DeYoung

DIY Design Theory | Helsinki Design Week | Helsinki, Finland

The Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Design Theory Helsinki project featured an entertaining event where audience members, come participants, made T-shirts themed on design and design theory.

Existing as a kind of analog as well as digital social media experiment (Twitter, Facebook), responses ranged from amusing and fun, to profound and provocative. The event took place in the International Design Council 2012 designated World Design Capital Helsinki, during the Pecha Kucha night, which was the Helsinki Design Week culminating event.

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Everyone is a Designer & Everything is Design

AIGA Think Tank Mark John DeYoung with Brad Reagan

DIY Design Theory Event  AIGA| AIGA Think Tank Conference | Nashville, Tennessee

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Design Theory project where conference attendees were invited to create a design theory “drawing” and express their opinion on design. The title of the show, Everything is Design & Everyone is a Designer, refers to our societal role in the creation and defense of our societal norms and values. More particularly, it points to our responsibility as designers in creating the future we imagine: a responsibility design has often times eschewed.

The think tank lounge environment consisting of a rural visual vocabularly display, lounge seating area and was site specific. Design theory commentary was created on site by the participants. Participants were asked to first create a “drawing” on design theory at one of the drawing stations and then post this commentary on the the walls of the lounge environment. The collection of drawings served to enable the audience to truly participate in the conference and served, not insignificantly, as a curious kind of reality-check, a polling of concern or lack-thereof outside or in addition to the scheduled speakers. The event connected AIGA national president Doug Powell’s “Design for Good” to the AIGA Nashville Think Tank.

This cultural event was one in a series of DIY Design Theory projects undertaken in collaboration with artist Brad Reagan.

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¿Despedida? Participatory Cultural Event

Despidida Mark John DeYoung

Participatory Cultural Event | The Downtown Gallery | Clarksville, Tennessee

¿Despedida? cultural event transformed the gallery space into an eclectic participatory environment, a great space for a breadth of cultural events conducive to social exchange and cultural enrichment. This community-based installation of Art + Design celebrated “object” creation, giving the viewer and/or participant the experience of the hand-made/self-made object through the use of local resources and local, reclaimed materials. The event blurred traditional distinctions between maker and viewer, artist and amateur, democratizing and valuing the making-of things. The event set the stage for an participatory experience including craft, a children’s lemonade stand, diverse ethnic food, and diverse alternative music central to the event in a created environment. ¿Despedida?  evolved depending on the participants across the span of time encouraging an inclusive environment of community and creativity.

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Adequately Theorized Painting Installation

ATPI Nothing Immaterial Mark John DeYoung

Art Installation | Pictura Gallery | Groningen, The Netherlands

The Adequately Theorized Painting Installation in full consists of 225 black panels with phrases painted in white. The space is illuminated by an intense, single tungsten light bulb. In the space, the viewer takes in the bric-a-brac collage of the rectangle-ish signs which, lacking square corners and straight edges, create rhythm through alternating size, slight angles and the contrast of white on black on white. The subjects of the text vary touching on philosophy, art, reflection and social commentary.

The installation plays with the idea of debunked universal meaning through the to-and-fro of contradictory texts, e.g. “This painting demonstrates my reluctance to conform” vs. “This painting demonstrates my inability to resist.” The text visuals, relating to hand-painted for sale signs and other rural visual communication are open and without pretension, encouraging the viewer to question, add to, accept or reject. The cacophony of panels is what Jan van Toorn would call “emancipatory,” encouraging exchange and enabling the viewer as opposed to closing down the option of dialogue.

Philosophically, the work imagines a world outside of closed authoritative metaphysics and posits an idea that a “philosophy” could be created through the expression of diverse, and divergent thought made visible. A grounding principle, as in well-grounded, that perhaps progress comes through dialog and an (eventual) level of agreement.

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Matter of Fact Populist/Conceptual Installation

Matter of Fact Mark John DeYoung

Installation | Museum Stadt Oldenburg | Oldenburg, Germany

Matter of Fact is a painting of an American Semi-tractor trailer truck combination, actual size. The painting is on 1,362 cardboard boxes, which when assembled, form a semi-tractor trailer truck combination, actual size, 13’6” x 8′ x 60.’ Depending on the type of exhibition space and visitor demographics, the work can be exhibited as a easy-to-understand, populist culture realist painting or as a networked theoretical, conceptual installation.

Populist Cultural Realism. Get more bang-for-your-buck through this easy-to-understand installation of 1,362 cardboard boxes assembled to exactly match the dimensions of a semi-tractor trailer truck combination. The realist nature of the work and the quantity of paintings gives the museum visitor value for their money. The MOF: Populist Cultural Realism, through size and the sheer quantity of paintings, ensures the technocratic, quantifiable efficacy of the exhibition. This in turn justifies its presence to the executive leadership team and the board of directors.

Conceptual Installation. The conceptual installation consist of 1,362 paintings on flat cardboard boxes stacked flat on 22 wooden pallets. Only the top painting on each pallet is visible. Arranged in the industrial formation that would fit in a 48’ semi-tractor trailer the installation challenges the viewer to identify internal, versus external and the potential for utility. Engaging what O’Doherty/Irleand might call the “uber viewer,” the work satisfies the discriminating gallery need for conceptual exclusivity.

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