THE MEANING OF MARGINALITY

The Meaning of Marginality
2008 - Current
Poplin, thread, safety pins, words
13'


I've been working my way through the dictionary adding prefixes and suffixes to every word, composing a comprehensive list of all words in the English language that could be used to describe a human being.  My reasoning revolves around the origins of language.  Its original purpose was to understand and convey the wonderment that surrounded to others.  Currently approximately 2/3rds of the English language is composed of words that attempt to tell us something about our fellow man; yet we still don't know much about our neighbor beyond the superficial.  We simplify people's whole existence into a word or multiple words.  In other words (no pun, please ) we limit our ability to truly know others (and ourselves!!) through the act of "identifying" them (i.e. stereotyping, which can be both positive and negative). 

This work is a coat, which extends as far down and as far out as needed to accommodate every word.  Each word is sewn on a swatch of fabric cut into the shape of a tag and then pinned to the surface of the coat (sewing would indicate the word is finite - whereas language is not fixed - words change meaning, or become outdated, etc).  The anticipated dimensions of the piece will be roughly 72 feet long and 42 feet in diameter.  Once the coat is complete it will be hung from the ceiling and cascade downward in a tent-like shape, so that viewers can engage with each other in the interior. 


The point of the coat and the enormity of the endeavor indicates
my taking ownership of this process.  It is my way of indicating that life and how we relate to the world around us does not have to be a reductive process. 

AVALARKIN@YAHOO.COM