Reading and taking notes has always been part of my practice. Diagrams were initially reserved for teaching. When they migrated to the forefront of my work, which I felt reluctant about, I assembled the digital retrospective, below. It reminded me that my first student work had been a sculptural diagram, based on my reading of Benjamin Lee Whorf's "Language, Thought, Reality". I have written about that here. The images above are from an exhibition at Illinois State University, Normal, in 2022.
The diagrams above, layered with photographs taken at large, public gatherings in Chicago, were presented at the Flusser Archive when it was still in Cologne (now in their collection), in Berlin, Prague, and the US. Vilém Flusser's work helped me gain a first perspective on why diagrammatic work was important to me, and how it intersects with technology and socio-political concerns. I wrote about this in the text linked to the right, which has since been republished in an anthology, "Understanding Flusser, Understanding Modernism", 2022. Connections to thinking about art world contexts were also considered here.
In 2011, Tricia van Eck organized audience activations as part of the exhibition, Without You I’m Nothing: Art and Its Audience, at the MCA Chicago. My contribution was a weeklong series of performance lectures, delivered every day at lunch time, using five, two-sided, prepared whiteboards. They included a diagram of arts organizations and their stakeholders (above), a diagram after Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", a diagram of Flusser's "Exile and Creativity", a wordless curatorial concept (a year later realized as the "Hairy Blob" at the Hyde Park Art Center), and a diagram after Duchamp's lecture "On the Creative Act", juxtaposed with Torrance's model of stages of creativity.
The exhibition, "Backgrounds and Conversations", 2004, in Chicago, was a participatory installation, an expanded, spatial diagram, grounded by three images after George Lakoff's "Moral Politics - How Progressives and Conservatives Think'". Core phrases were suspended throughout, inviting visitors to pose under them. The work was later also exhibited at Drake University, Des Moines, IA, in tandem with a symposium on political value formation.