Epitaph Coder

Year

2021

Materials

Powder coated steel, bamboo, ball bearings, vinyl

Installation

The artwork is installed on a flat surface perpendicular to a blank wall. The decoder poster and the YES | NO question poster are stuck to the wall. A post-it-note pad and pen are placed next to the artwork so that participants can write down their decoded epitaphs and then stick them on the YES | NO question poster as they see fit. This creates a visual tally over the duration of the installation that is crucial to the artwork's success.

Questions

What does it mean to live a "good life"? Why?

What are the characteristics of a "bad" life?

Do we get to choose the lives we live? To what extent?

What is a "good"/"bad" job? Why?

Description

In this artwork a five-tiered wheel-of-fortune generates random epitaphs (statements traditionally written on tombstones to summarise someone's life achievements). Participants are asked to decode their epitaphs and then decide whether this randomly assigned life story is "good" or not. The intention is for participants to think critically about their own life and career in the present day and ask themselves whether they are living what they would consider to be a "good life", and why or why not that may be. Asking participants to write their epitaph on a post-it-note and then to stick it on the YES | NO poster on the wall stokes a process of judgement, which over time reflects the dominant values upheld by the community more broadly. 

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