Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Arthouse Co-Op Mystery Project

A month or so back, I accepted the challenge to do the "Mystery Project" based on the description on the Arthouse Co-Op site that read "Create a token of inspiration using the tools in your kit — it could be a drawing, a zine, a sculpture, or a collage — then install it in a public place for a stranger to discover."

I was a little excited when the small bubble envelope containing the ingredients for my "Mystery Project" arrived. Inside the envelope, I found a nice little thank-you card, a Prismacolor marker in a color called "Cinnamon Toast," and a small card with the phrase "If tomorrow came yesterday" on it.

Yeah. I was less than thrilled with a brown marker and a prompt so tortured and twisted that my head hurt every time I tried to think about what to do for this project. For weeks, I picked up the envelope, pulled out the contents and felt my heart sink as I struggled to work out what I was supposed to do with that marker and those words. I planned an elaborate voting box with tokens for people encountering the art to select what they would do if, as the prompt suggested "tomorrow came yesterday." I imagined a social experiment in which people weighed the burdens of knowledge of the future and tried to decide how they would spend a day with that knowledge. All the while, I kept thinking that in that circumstance, I would do what I always do: Be present and content in the here and now.

After a whole lot of agonizing over how to build the contraption and where to install it, I scrapped the idea altogether and decided to do as the original challenge said and create a token of inspiration, a small item to remind people how important it it to be present, in the moment, here and now.

That's when I grabbed a tiny wooden birdhouse, covered it in strips of old Wall Street Journals (how perfect is that?), distressed the corners with a liberal touch of "Cinnamon Toast," and slipped a special message inside for people encountering the art to discover.

I took the finished piece to work & installed it between two bulletin boards that feature marketing materials for the various MBA programs offered at the business school where I work. 

Here are a few photos of the installation and people viewing the piece:


  1. Little Sister, you never fail to amaze me!!!

  2. You have an amazing gift to surprise and delight. I love the expanse and joy of your imagination and how you invite us to join in the fun.

  3. LOVE what you did, and can only imagine the smiles it broght to so many faces!