A performance lecture at the Savannah College of Art & Design


<< All work is, on principle – work for others. >>  Joseph Beuys

I was invited by my alma mater to participate as a Featured Artist in their 2013 Open Studio. It’s an event whose mission is to reflect on it’s constituents (students, faculty, and alumni), and clutter the walls with the very best of what the institution has to offer. For my contribution, I wanted to examine this model as a structure, for new possible meaning.

During this event, student work is freed from the bonds of the laboratory, and brought forth for consideration. In the midst of this strange pageantry (and vague selection process), student work is elevated. Hanging on the walls, standing proudly under lights, projected in dark rooms – parents are thrilled, faculty are cordial, students are beaming. BUT, the student offering is always something else other than art. Some will neglect it’s true meaning by underhandedly observing: “It’s just student work…”. Maybe. But maybe there is another name.



As part of my project, I gave a performance-lecture to an entering group of graduate students. Through story-telling & participation, I introduced some ideas about this concept of the prototype.

During the performance; I conducted a brief sing-a-long-song about prototypes, introduced the breadboard, told the story of Loki’s net, considered the 1978 NASA prototype of the Mars Rover, and finally came to the ideas of Douglas Hofstadter. Hofstadter postulates that “analogy is the interstate freeway system of cognition” and the core of concept building.  According to him, we build ideas out of other ideas, assembling our thoughts through rapid piecemeal.





At the end of the performance I asked students to create a version of Hofstadter’s chunking model à la snack tray. With crackers, and a variety of ingredients, the students and I set about making our individual offerings. The crackers were placed on small plates, which were then placed on a larger tray. Then – the students, faculty, and I ate the snacks – and I asked them to help me unpack the performance.

By cross-pollinating the trope of communal food preparation with Hofstadter’s model, we turned a snack tray in to an exhibition, and a playful allegory for an art school.





As part of my project, I asked a group of artists to submit work based on this idea of the prototype. With the resulting works I created a draft publication with their responses, and scanned the object as digital zine. It’s available for download as PDF (for device) or a version formatted to produce your own print-out.


<—Prototype (Artist Book, 2013) (LOW) (HIGH) (PRINT)

—> Stef’s Game (Insert) (HIGH) (PRINT)


Adriana CiocciPaolo Codeluppi + Kristina SolomoukhaPhilippe Durand, Tamara Johnson, Matt Maher, Colombe Marcasiano, Colin Matthes, Stefanos Tai  & Katie Waugh