09 March 2011

Doug Aitkin - Living Word

I like this piece. I'm not that crazy about Aitkin's work in general, but this piece has some intellectual and formal potential. There's the whole green wall thing that he has appropriated, and through that appropriation brought this green technology into another sphere of awareness. Then there is the use of language, which recurs in my own work. We really cannot separate the form from its representation. In this case, "sex," brings to mind a whole lot of complicated relationships. It is also a provocative word/concept. I have to ask the question, are the content (sex) and the vehicle (the green wall) really furthering an idea? Or are they simply cohabiting? My take is the latter. I was minimally trained in graphic design, and I learned that message and vehicle needed to share some common intent - that there should be a symmetry or symbiosis. To some extent, I have evolved past this, and accept a level of ambiguity. I am glad that it doesn't say "green," or "life," or something else predictable. But in this case the provocative content overshadows the ambiguity of the relationship.

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