Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Confession Sessions by Carrie MacQuaid

For the past several months Carrie MacQuaid has been wearing printed t-shirts, each listing a different 'guilty pleasure.' The plain grey or white shirts make statements in plain black text like, "I consistently prefer to watch E! news over any real news shows." MacQuaid describes a guilty pleasure as "something that is totally embarrassing but harms no one. It is something you get pleasure out of, but won't want to tell other people for fear of what they might think."

Why would someone want to make a confession like this in public? What stands to be gained or lost? Perhaps it is the possibility or bridging some gap between self and others, making oneself more human and accessible. Self effacement often does just that. Perhaps there is some assumption of superiority when we first meet people that needs to be undermined in order for friendships to be created. Maybe it's just easier to trust someone who makes fun of themself first.

Confessions, especially embarrassing ones, are accompanied by a heightened presumption of honesty. Why would someone lie and say that they love Disney's High School Musical, if they know people are likely to scoff? Why do we expect the truth in confessions?

Beyond this, what is it about our own desire to know about other people's guilty pleasures? Is it just voyeurism or something more?

You can follow Carrie MacQuaid's Confession Sessions at:

Cole Pierce: mixed cd's for everyone

Cole Pierce has been giving away mixed cd's since 2004. He collects music, burns a mix, decorates a case, and leaves small stacks in public.

There's something about creating a mix cd that is intensely personal, even romantic. It's the kind of thing a person usually does for a close friend, family member, or significant other. That someone would do this on a public scale is curious. In the moment when the mixed album is given away, something personal is shared. Taste is perhaps one of the most intimate ways to identify someone and giving someone a collection like this is a way of revealing that hidden identity. A person might be attracted to the idea of a free cd, but the opportunity to take home a piece of a stranger's life may be more compelling. Yet this is also a very anonymous gift. There is no special thread that pre-exists before the cd is given, or taken. It's still a curiousity as to whether the free mixed cd creates this bond or only further emphasizes its absence.

You can learn more about Cole Pierce, and his work on his website and blog:

Julie Rudder: artist as host

Julie Rudder is a fellow artist and (in the very near future) graduate of Northwestern. Julie has always been interested in a particular relationship between artist and viewer. Recently that relationship took the form of artist as host- radio host. Julie entered the Public Radio Talent Quest. You can listen to her entry using this link:

Julie has taken on the role of host before, often creating situations that frame social interaction. There's something very interesting about the idea of an artist as a host, even more so as a radio host. Hosts are often the ones in control of a given situation. They say where the party will be, when begins and ends, and who gets invited. The host is the center of the party, but somehow just off stage as well. Hosts are expected to be gracious and a good host is endlessly giving, bending over backwards for guests. The host's connection to power can also be seen when Julie takes on the role of a curator in projects like her upcoming show, The Addition, in which Julie will be presenting videos created by other artists in her garage. But what is it about the radio that's so appealing to her? Perhaps it is the way in which talk itself is the main topic. Yet somehow, when one listens to talk radio, the gentle, clear words offer a window into the soul. The radio doesn't allow the audience to be confused by images. Rather, audio is pumped out in stereo, as if to be as close as possible to an internal monologue.

You can read about Julie Rudder's work on her blog: