Measure your Morals

September 18, 2008

For her project McQuitty created the Flora minimal Aesthetometer, a site-specific art piece. The apparatus is made of transparent Plexiglas with beeswax on it that’s been sandblasted in places in pattern. It’s a “kind of an etching in shadow” that is generated when it transmits light. Depending on lighting the piece is either minimal, natural and true, or more opulent, decorative and colourful.

Interested participants can go online here and complete a survey to determine the light settings. The survey is about taste. McQuitty initially wanted to have polling box outside for people submit their ideas, but the idea was nixed due to concerns about vandalism.

Of course, you only have to look at the success of American Idol winners to see there is some discordance when it comes to populist voting. But McQuitty believes the survey will represent the people who voted, even if its not really scientific.

“Like the Hockey Night in Canada challenge, that cumulative judgment is going to be a snapshot of the majority opinion of a particular group of people at a particular point of time. I don’t know whether that’s going to last forever and ever. If you took a snapshot of another group of people later on, you might come out with a different result.”

Along with challenging the idea that restrained aesthetics are better, McQuitty is trying to get the Aesthetometer installed in a public building. She likes the idea of people seeing the work, and developing a relationship with it.

“I’m just trying to get people to articulate something about visual impressions. If you say it a loud, write it, or somehow force yourself to talk about it, the conversation gets better if you do that. So I’m trying to get people involved.”

Flora minimal Aesthetometer will be on display from Thu September 18 – Tue September 30 at the Untitled Art Society‘s Plus 15 Window.
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