Developed by artists Christine Wong Yap and Sarrita Hunn, Inter/de-pend-ence is a non-competitive, dialogue-based game exploring cooperation, competition, and other themes of mutual support. This is the second installment in a six-part series featuring four artists playing Inter/de-pend-ence.
Learn more and meet the players in the introduction. Play the game! Download a PDF, or draw cards online.
Round 2: Meaning
Christine Wong Yap, Answerer
Christine draws the Question Card, “What makes you feel meaning?”
I really like having a sense of purpose. I guess that it’s kind of a good and a bad thing to be achievement-oriented. I also really enjoy activities that give me flow experiences, the way I can lose myself in an activity that’s challenging enough that my skills are fully involved. For me, that’s often art practice, but at the same time it is really meaningful for me to see people engaging my work. To see them participate and see the interaction have an emotional resonance—that is really important to me because my work often begins with a feeling. To see people integrate that in their own experience is really cool.
Torreya Cummings, Concretizer
You were talking about your work being meaningful to other people… I feel that in a lot of the work that I do, I would like that to happen. I never really know if it’s doing that or not, but I have, a few times… I think I was at an opening at Yerba Buena Center and somebody came up to me and said, “Hey, I have your art on my phone…” and she shows me a picture of my work in a show I had done. She was like, “I saw this, and it was really exciting.” I didn’t know what to say in that moment, but I was also tremendously grateful that she had picked up the signal.
Part of the reason that I make art is to connect with people. I hope that….in the way that other people’s art has affected my life for the better, or made the world a better place for me to be in—I want that to happen….
With my project at the Oakland Museum (Notes on “Camp”), I received emails about it from people who said, “Hey, I like to spend time in there.” It’s nice to get that feeling: “Oh, OK, the work is doing what I wanted it to do.” Sometimes you don’t really know, unless somebody tells you.
Malcolm Peacock, Tactician
Malcolm draws the Tactic Card, “Find the pattern.”
I am going to interpret that as: Find the pattern between the last two responses. I think the pattern is glaring. Regardless of the type of practice that you have, if you end up caring about the work, the pattern is the desire to connect to people and express.
I think the flaw with a lot of interpretations of people’s practices, or the work, or the success of their work (I am in school right now doing my Master’s) is that there is a construct around how the success is contingent upon the communication of an idea or feeling to the audience (with some sets of tools that were created by the maker). I actually I think it is a really flawed way to evaluate or to think about art. At the end of the day, I think the strongest thing is the pattern that most people, most artists—whether they are in the studio, or having conversations, or whatever the mode of making is—are really just trying to do what Nicole Eisenman talks about in painting, what Chris Ofili talks about in painting, what EJ Hill talks about in performance, what Ralph Lemon talks about in choreography and dance. They’re interested in making work to communicate an emotion or thought to a group of people (in order reach people, in order to communicate) to find and locate their own position in the world.
Ronny Quevedo, Summarizer
The question was, “What makes you feel meaning?” I think, for a lot of people, that translated to how they feel meaningful. Christine was talking about having a clear sense of purpose within the work, and that being reflected in how her skill-set could match the task at hand. She finds meaning in work when people have a very clear experience with the project.
Then Torreya was talking about a specific example at Yerba Buena where someone told her that she had a photo of one of her works and that really flattered her and made her feel better, because someone had really understood what the project was about, or at least appreciated it. That was one thing that resurfaced: that idea of connecting to people and how a good response from somebody really brings it full circle. You never know the success or the impact of the work until people respond to it.
With regards to the tactic card about finding the pattern, Malcolm started talking about the overall desire to connect to people that was in everybody’s response and the idea that the success of the work of art is contingent to understanding the meaning of the maker, and how that can be flawed and very fragile in some instances. He referenced several artists like Ralph Lemon and Chris Ofili, who want to find their position in the world. For the artists he cited, that’s the most effective way of feeling success in a work of art. It reaches people and they can locate their position using the artwork as a reference.
Inter/De-pen-dence game play, Round Three: Receiving Support, will post next week—come back and play along!