The Imperative Series
I study handwriting samples in search of a “relative sameness” among them. This sameness is simultaneously reflected in the fluctuation and consistency of each hand-written word or phrase. I find that as one’s temperament and appearance varies from day to day, so do one’s thoughts and actions. Since handwriting is in essence a trace of one’s thoughts through action, it gives us a visual record of a person’s state of mind as he wrote.
The Imperative Series, my latest body of work is a series of paintings and prints based on a collaborative handwriting experiment in which participants wrote the second formulation of Kant’s Categorical Imperative once a day for ten days. This re-presenting of participants’ re-presenting of Kant’s original concept questions the chain of authorship and who actually has the right to claim these designs as their own. I resolve this issue by sharing the experience of mark-making with my subjects, combining my brushwork with the record of the scribe’s motion.
“Act as if the maxim of your action were to become by your will a universal law of nature”