Tuesday, January 16

Thesis Woes

One thing I've learned while writing my thesis is that just because I find something interesting does not mean that prior historians have found the same thing interesting. Case in point, "Soundings" by Robert Rauschenberg 1968; the work is a dark room in which a wall has been mounted with chairs screen printed onto canvas. Behind the canvas are real chairs, suspended, with an intricate light system that's voice activated. Different lights react to various changes in tonality and create a work of art that is not complete without human interaction. The light system is certainly an interesting concept, but I'd like to know why he chose the subject matter that he did. Why did Rauschenberg choose to use chairs? He could have used any object to create this work, but he chose chairs. As I prove in my thesis, vacant chairs have certain connections with the human form and often represent absent people and the passage of time. Rauchenberg happens to use this very simple chair in a lot of his work, which fascinates me. Prior historians on the other hand? Not so much. I keep finding reviews of this work that basically add up to the equivalent of "oooh look at the pretty lights." Come on people! Give this undergrad something to work with!

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