Michael Rutledge MFA Applied Craft + Design Practicum 2018


I’ve always heard that it is important to see the forest for the trees—the whole for its parts but I’m beginning to wonder if this idiom somewhat misses the point. Whether you’re looking at one or many trees, the “seeing” intends clarity. NOISE is a project whose intention is symphony.

Eldritch Priest describes noise as something that “can never fully be.” He says: “noise is something that never is but ever becomes.” Its a sticky concept that can only exist in theory. At the instant noise is observed, it becomes sound. Objects can operate in the very same way. Objects that live in our periphery, mediating and structuring our experiences. This project looks at examples of noisy objects and turns their volume up.

NOISE promotes a kind of looking that is closer to listening. Likening looking to LISTENING is not a synesthetic move; it is an analogous one. It is a way to encourage deeper looking. Not just to look closer: discerning more details, but to look deeper: sussing out connections, associations, multi-meanings, complexities, fallacies, etc. Looking at looking as LISTENING is to see without focus and find that which is typically unfocused on.

These investigations revolve around an installation of props: a beach chair; a TV tray; a monitor: built-objects arranged en-scène. The resulting scenario directs attention away from what is known and toward the realization that actually, we don’t know much of anything at all.

Lars Svendsen writes:

“The human subject is a being that actively constitutes [their] own world, but when everything is always already fully coded, the active constitution of the world is made superfluous.”

This work is an opportunity for a second glance—a way to break the code and to see again with new eyes, as if for the first time.

120 albums

MFA in Applied Craft + Design Thesis Works