Today is the start of a new project with the working title ‘Whispers’.

It is a physical adaptation of the worldwide known game ‘chinese whispers’

A definition of the game on Wikipedia:

“Chinese whispers[1] (or telephone in the United States[2]) is a game played around the world, in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first. Reasons for changes include anxiousness or impatience, erroneous corrections, and that some players may deliberately alter what is being said to guarantee a changed message by the end of the line.”

The experiment works as follows:

I hand an object to another designer, maker, craftsman or manufacturer with a simple brief: duplicate this object as close to the original as you can using your own expertise and skills.

A few rules for participating designers/makers/crafts(wo)men:

  • you should try to emulate the original object as well as you possibly can, paying attention to size, material, colour, texture, function, behaviour and other important properties.
  • you should be the only one working on this. If you do not master or have access to certain materials or processes you should use your own available skills, materials and processes to emulate the original form and materiality as closely as possible.
  • you should finish this within the given time as agreed beforehand. This is important because this project will depend on a fluid process that includes many different people with their own busy schedule.
  • material costs will be reimbursed. (For now) you will not be payed for the labour or intellectual properties. If the work gets sold you will receive half of the money that’s left after deducting costs (gallery fees, material cost, transport, etc)
  • it is very important not to tell anyone about the object you’ve received and the object you are making. You can not share anything with anyone regarding the project until the whole chain of objects is completed. Doing otherwise would influence other makers and would jeopardise the outcome of the project.
  • you should not change, damage or stain the original, as it will be part of the final exhibition.

The first object in each series should be chosen carefully and should probably be a well known and acclaimed cultural object. By placing a well known and well made object as first in the series the gradient of objects that follow from it will gain meaning.

This project creates interesting questions regarding copyright, ownership and authorship. There is the first object which clearly is copyrighted by the original maker. There is a risk of copyright infringement.

The entire body of work will be accredited to me as it is my concept and my curation, but each object will be made by someone else. All these makers will be credited for their work and will be prominently communicated. This way the result will be a Gesammtskunstwerk of the original artist or designer + me + the group of makers in the chain.

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