Walter Benjamin discusses what comes of a work once the mechanical revolution takes place, ultimately altering what it means to be art.
Sol Lewitt used language as a form of abstraction for others to decode and replicate the artwork. My group was given a simple set of instructions:
A 6-inch (15 cm) grid covering the wall. Within each square, not straight lines in either of four directions. Only one direction in each square but as many as desired, and at least one line in each square.
From here, we worked collaboratively to decode the set of instructions and replicate it in the gallery space. Using a ruler, we divided the wall into a grid where each person was to draw as many or as little lines in it. The nature in this was completely random where we decided to join grids together with the lines to create a continuous line or pattern with also an end code to stop the pattern.
This was our result:
Upon reflection of another interpretation of the same instructions, I realized that we used rather geometrical lines and patterns even if the lines weren’t straight and drawn freehand. Ours is slightly different yet still fulfills the instruction set with a slightly different aesthetic.
We discovered that the art isn’t in the mechanical reproduction of the same lines within the same grid, it is in fact the human interpretation of language into form that makes it interesting. The power of the artwork is in its extraction, the process, the concept and the experience. Thus, a computer would not know how to perform this action of continuous lines patterns or randomised lines within a grid as the aesthetic would be removed.
I didn’t find our wall drawing relatively easy as it was a pretty flexible instruction set which gave us room to experiment and enjoy the experience rather than the experience of confusion and frustration expressed with other groups aiming to replicate their wall drawing which was much more specific. I believe these instructions were quite good and easy to follow, although everyone’s drawing would be different as perception varies.