There is this form of expression I recently thought of calling “corporate art”.
Normally when folks hear a term like this I suspect they think of abstract paintings in hotel lobbies and hallways, or strong looking works of sculpture, or maybe those inspiration posters, or something similar. I remember loki at one point in college mentioned he was sort of fascinated with that kind of thing, or at least the lobby-paintings aspect of it. If I recall this is what inspired the Red Room exhibit (of ’97 or ’98 probably).
Anyway, fascinating though this stuff may be, this isn’t what I mean by “corporate art”.
When I first started working at my current job, a semi-academic biotech firm associated with MIT, it was pretty boring. In college I’d gotten a dual-major in biology and sculpture, but really had no idea what I’d do with either of them. Learning about biology was fun, but really I don’t have the patience needed to be a full time researcher (it’s not so much a matter of coming up with ideas and experiments, but carrying out tests is an arduous chore).
Same with art really. I can make something creative, and will readily do so when the mood hits me. But if it takes more than a couple days to finish, there better be someone breathing down my neck to get it done or else it will languish somewhere in a half completed state. Also I really hate the ‘art world’ idea of having to constantly market your work to anyone and everyone. Some people have a knack for self-promotion. Personally I also crave a little attention, but trying to get it I end up sounding like a big whiney baby. This is another reason I couldn’t stand the idea of being a door-to-door art salesman (more on this later).
Anyway, back to the job front: Although the place I work is technically “biotech” more of the stuff I do is chem- than bio-, and these days more manual labor, data entry, and paperwork than chem-. But at least it’s got variety. Still it’s occasionally boring for my tastes.
Enter Corporate Art.
There’s all this stuff laying (or maybe lying) around work. Scrap plastic, metal, and paper. And in fact some not so scrap that has relatively low cost and won’t be missed if wasted sparingly. Also there are computers. Also, although I have a fair amount of work to do in a day I’m not always relentlessly busy (well, some weeks). So occasionally I get the idea that I’ll add a little a bit of color to my drab biotech surroundings through some creative expression.
Although possibly the most prolific, I’m certainly not the first person to use trivial office resources to brighten up drab environments. Early in my employment here a girl named Oahn (pronounced “wan” or like the spanish “Juan”) made a bunch of little origami flowers and stuck them on green-markered sterile toothpicks in 1.5-ml eppendorf tubes which she then taped to the wall like tiny vases, or floral sconces if you will (or perhaps “tube-shaped, plastic, wall-mounted scones designed to hold flowers instead of being eaten” would be a better phrase). Maybe this was what made me think it was ok to insert some random objects de arte (or however you spell that phrase) into my workplace. Or maybe it was the psychic weight of all those attempts subvert the spirit of Maria Crites’s assignments in design class.
During the next week or so I should be putting up a bunch of babble regarding “Corporate Art” with occasional illustrations.
I apologize for this. Really, I wanted to put up illustrations with occasional babble, but apparently I don’t swing that way.