Paper is a technology in western culture that seems to never exhaust its function, even in a time where media dominates over other mediums.
This prompted me to read Dard Hunter’s book “Paper Making” that beautifully constructs the origin of paper and its evolution through cultures.
Paper originated in China and Chinese people used paper to make different objects that were requested from customers. Objects that were made reflected the desires of the customers, so it ranged from clothes to cars. Once the objects were made they were burned at the funeral of those who could afford these articulate objects and were to materialize into the afterlife.(Hunter 1978, pages 207-209)
I defamiliarized myself to the function of paper in western culture and made an interactive installation in a domestic space, the living room. In Chinese culture papered objects were burned ceremoniously set aflame in the living room area of the deceased to commemorate them. (Hunter 1978, page 209)
My piece does not go as far as being a ritualistic experience but I did want to approach it in a way that would require interaction that is out of the norm while repurposing a familiar space.
The paper panel installation is set up in a way that separates each person from one another forcing them to be surrounded by walls of paper, immersing them in the texts, that aren’t meant to be read. The bodies included in the piece are positioned to take up the negative space inside of the installation, challenging the formality of the body.
Hunter, Dard. Papermaking: the history and technique of an ancient craft. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1978.