InSight 2: Engaging the Health Humanities group exhibit

InSight 2: Engaging the Health Humanities
Fine Arts Building Gallery, University of Alberta, Edmonton
14 May to 8 June 2013

Exhibit description

Take a Leaf from My Book

Marlena Wyman and Chris Westbury

Many health benefits are attributable to a positive attitude. We invite spectators to experiment with this idea by offering them 999 computer-generated descriptions of art (created by Chris Westbury) to serve as ‘projective surfaces’ for transformative positive thinking. Spectators are encouraged to remove the description that inspires them and build the described piece.

The 1000th description has been removed in advance by artist Marlena Wyman, and transformed into the work displayed. Rather than presenting ‘our viewpoint’, this piece enables viewers to actively experiment with their own epistemology. In challenging viewers to find positive inspiration in random texts, we remind them of the wide variety of things that can serve as positively transformative symbols. Our work draws from health psychology, Dadaism, visual art, poetry, hermeneutics, and semiotics. The use of nonsense to inspire deliberate positive thinking raises broad questions about the meanings of things, and the extent to which we ourselves can improve those meanings.