The Experiment Series gives artists across an endless range of disciplines the opportunity to interpret a creative challenge, or "prompt" in a space that is constantly re-imagined. The project begin and end with no creative boundaries. Each exhibition is a fresh start.
Venus is Venus is Venus
DATE: September 16, 2017
VENUE: Dupont Underground
LOCATION: Washington, DC
In the 1913 poem Sacred Emily, Gertrude Stein wrote the line “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”. This sentence is often interpreted as meaning “things are what they are”. But are they really? From ancient mythology right through to contemporary culture, the word “Venus” has evoked different interpretations: beauty, desire, fertility, deity, and bright interstellar objects. For this experiment, our artists transform the iconic Dupont Underground as they derive their own meaning from the prompt.
Today, it seems that we are very concerned with constants, and constraints, clear-cut definitions, even when some concepts are inherently abstract and cannot necessarily be explained in a black-and-white formula. With this experiment we wanted to push the idea that there can be more than one answer to the same question, and different definitions for the same concept.
A popular way of interpreting the line ‘rose is a rose is a rose’ is that “things are literally what they are” or A is A. However, the line also demonstrates that each word can have infinite forms and meanings dependent on the context and interpretation of the individual. Venus as a concept was interesting to us because many of the associations we form for Venus are built upon culture and not based upon our first hand experiences. Most of us have not physically seen Venus the planet, nor necessarily studied Greek mythology in great detail, yet we have these notions of what Venus is, and what it symbolizes. Many of these meanings that we form are dependent on our own context, and not necessarily logically supported.
The perception aspect of design, and what makes individuals connect to art is intriguing. Seemingly insignificant details on a micro level, such as shade or spacing or texture, can have a much bigger impact on a final product when these details are aggregated. Similarly, although most of us have comparable starting points when we think of venus, with each iteration of the idea we begin to trail off in a different direction and start to form a unique interpretation, as demonstrated by the exhibits on display today, many of which are drawing on similar initial concepts but are also radically different in their realization.