“An art project exploring our American identity through the creation of flags built using marks collected from the different people and places that make up our country.”
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So beautiful in so many ways. This series, titled Americans Flags, is the brilliant, timely, and thoughtful work of American artist Tim Ferguson Sauder. Okay, I’ve basically copy/pasted his entire site, but I wanted to be sure I didn’t leave anything out! Here is the Why and How about this ongoing project:
This body of work has been (and is being) created in response to an interaction I had with my students a couple years ago. It was the morning after an incredibly charged US election and my class was just starting. As soon as everyone showed up and grabbed a seat one of my students raised her hand and asked, “Since this is a communication course can we talk about how I’m supposed to communicate with my family about politics when I already know we don’t agree? Especially about what happened last night?”
We talked that day about how difficult it is to be open to others’ points of view while staying true to your own beliefs when those two things differ. We discussed how it was our responsibility to work to find ways to broaden our own perspectives and share with others what we see. This work is an exercise in exposing myself to other people’s experiences in America. I’m exploring what this country means to them and deepening my own understanding of what America and its identity means to me.
… we take the [cut plywood] boards out and “gather” marks on them. These are most often collected by spraying a thin layer of fixative onto the board and leaving it someplace where people will walk or ride over the board and leave marks.
Some places/people from which we’ve “gathered” marks include: a U.S. border pedestrian bridge in Texas, American Indian craftspeople in New Mexico, workers at a strawberry farm in Massachusetts, fishermen working in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. East Coast and tourists visiting memorial sites in Washington D.C.
Beautiful. PS. Tim is hoping to show this work throughout the US… if you are an interested gallery, please reach out to him.
This project was done through his lab, Return Design, at Olin College. Tim is not only an artist, but also a designer and associate professor in the practice of design at Olin College of Engineering.