Gyotaku. Ink. 2010
This is also pretty old, but it’s along the same lines as my previous post (social art) and thought: better late than never.
Firstly, gyotaku is a traditional Japanese form of printing where real fish are inked and then printed onto paper (gyo means fish and taku means rubbing). It was originally intended for documentation of a fisherman’s catch, but eventually evolved into an art form. Secondly, this piece was a response to the BP oil spill that my entire class took part in creating. The fish used were donated by a restaurant that carried species from the gulf. We used black ink to represent the toxic oil, and included facts and statistics among the rice paper to raise awareness about the catastrophe. Among the facts were quotes from students in Louisiana who gave us their first hand accounts: the smell was the first thing they noticed.
The installation itself modeled a school of fish and had with it a sense of movement. As viewers passed by, the papers would ruffle bringing attention the piece. All in all, this was a interesting project to undertake, although some fellow classmates were unhappy about the fish smell that lingered in the hallway after production.