Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cornell's Boxes

I was extremely intrigued by Cornell's boxes. His collections of small, unique items preserved in a small box illustrate his attempt to capture elements of the human experience. Considered a symbolist, Cornell hinted at more elaborate or abstract ideas. I think Cornell truly embodies the definition of a post modernist artist, since he constructs colorful, but somewhat ambiguous settings that relate to modern human life. Some of my favorite boxes were those that involved birds, like this one.

I wonder, if I were to imitate his style,  what kinds of items I would put in a box to represent the current 21st century human experience (a computer maybe?). What kinds of symbols would you guys include in your "boxes"? 


Steven said...

I think a lot of modern technology has brought about fragmentation amongst people yet has drawn them closer together but on the same token has also consumed us. For example, Facebook in many ways connects people through different types of media, including photos, videos, and text. But at the same time, some people spend hours upon hours on Facebook and probably spend more time communicating with people on Facebook than in person. If I designed my own 21st century box, I would separate the inside into different cubicles yet string them all together with a thick piece of twine and then also with a metal chain. There's a lot to be said about how computers have influenced human connections, so I would definitely include a computer in one section and a symbolic heart in another, but those are just a few things.

Blaine said...

Although its very difficult to write what I visually have imagined in my head, I will make some attempt. The bottom of my box would be composed of glass but would depict the image on a blue sky. The walls of my box would have the texture of wood but would be painted like you were in outer space. The ceiling would be actual bright green artificial grass and would have plastic cat toys with yoyo's playing in the grass. I would also have alien toys with the heads of different animals interacting with eachother throughout the box. I know all of this is hard to imagine but trust me it would look cool.

C-Sted said...

This might sound crazy, but I would put an airbag in my box. I think that we live in a "padded" time, where the sharp edges of life are rounded, covered, and hidden from view. The usurpation of individual power has been so complete that one can hardly even be a danger to oneself anymore. I know this is a vast oversimplification, but it definitely holds true in America.

Cornell's collage style reminds me of Eliot's own creative approach in The Waste Land. The statement, "These fragments I have shored against my ruins" could just as easily apply to Cornell did with boxes as it does to what Eliot did with words. It is too bad that Cornell was discouraged from publicly displaying most of his films by Dali's harsh criticism (and jealousy). They might have been a great influencing force in the early days of cinematography.

Julia said...

If I were constructing a box similar to Cornell's that represents the 21st century, I would first build walls plastered with dollar bills, because our society seems so focused on monetary wealth. I would also include technological "advancements," such as iPads and iPhones that our culture now idolizes. Since I agree with Steven about Facebook, I would also include projected images of Facebook newsfeeds that tend to replace true face-to-face interaction.
Although this age has been full of technological achievements, modernist works and my own experience have caused me to question whether these advancements are truly helping us.