YI Artists meet Corey McCorkle
Oct 19, 2011

Students work with artist.

Youth Insights Artists meet with artist-in-residence Corey McCorkle, October 2011. Photograph by Berry Stein

This semester YI Artists are working with Corey McCorkle, whose work was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial exhibition. McCorkle's work includes aspects of installation, architecture, and documentary film-making. Earlier in the term, he asked us to bring in something that we qualified as a “mess.” The assignment was open to our interpretation and we were also meant to consider how to contain and transport our mess depending on what we chose, found, or made for the project. For our regular Wednesday meeting on October 19, everyone brought in their “messes” and we set them up on the work tables in the room. Both Corey and Carda, our youth programs coordinator, recommended that we walk around to view the art before we listened to each other’s explanations so we could create our own interpretations of each piece.

After analyzing everyone’s work, we discussed with each other what our pieces represented. The messes ranged widely from literal to figurative, meaningful to interpretive, and discrete to conspicuous. Many students brought in found objects such as a hair brush, a back pack, or a family portrait. Others made their messes from scratch. Their approaches included making a clay mind by building the shape of a brain with clay and covering it with bits of newspaper and handwritten text to represent information that can bombard a mind all day, or typing “mess” in scrambled bold letters. I found a silly plastic wine glass at home and screamed the word mess into it repeatedly. Immediately after, I taped the glass shut. I was inspired by the vibrations of the word.

 

Glass cover with tape.

To interpret the concept of a "mess" Amhara screamed the word mess into this plastic wine glass, then taped it shut to save the vibrations. Photograph by Carda Burke

Looking at all the results it became clear that we were all asking a question: What is a mess? Through our discussion, we were discovering how many aspects of life are uncontrollably messes, but what made them messy offered what was truly beautiful or horrible about them.

by YI Artist Amhara