We Are What Is Not: Absence, Erasures, and the Unvisible
By Rachel Shipps
Art + Design Lab for November 2013 brought teens into the Museum for exploration of the topic “We Are What Is Not: Absence, Erasures, and the Unvisible.” As a participant and informal archivist of the program, I spent time alongside artist-educators Emmy Bright and Julia Gualtieri and students considering how to represent the occlusion and exposure of this month.
Prior to the last session, I drafted a narrative of my own experiences which was then altered, edited, and redacted by the teens. Writing a document intended for revision was an exciting process, as edits would take shape without any of my oversight. Originally uniform photocopies, the newly speculative, collaborative products returned to me translated into new forms of exposure and occlusion. These redactions to my original story fuse practice and representation; reflect visual and narrative dialogue between participants, object, and process; and illustrate how narrative can be more fully realized through collaboration.
Rachel Shipps is an MA student in Public Humanities at Brown University.