Location #1: The Pit
When observing the chair in two different locations in front of the Pit, we gained a new perspective on the role of the viewer concerning site-specific and situational art. The majority of people proceeded to pass the chair with minimal glances. Others simply walked by and ignored it. Since the chair is not an ordinary object that blends into the Wake Forest landscape, what was most interesting is the fact that people had to choose to ignore the chair. The act of ignoring, in this situation, is a conscious decision on the part of the viewers. It would be difficult to not take notice of the chair, which inevitably means the passers-by who ignored it made an intentional effort to do so.
The act of ignoring the object, which probably struck their curiosity, posed a deep question about social constructs. The people who chose to interact with the chair were generally in groups. This may be due to the fact that some might feel awkward or feel judged by others if they singularly approach the chair. On the other hand, when in a group, everyone becomes a participant on the off chance of any social or “status” consequences. Interestingly enough, boys were by and large more willing to touch and inspect the chair as opposed to girls. This may either say that the male population is more daring or that girls are more concerned with social appearances. It is also possible that this focused more on the population selection and may actually say very little of whether people are willing to interact with art or not.
Other interactions observed included people stopping, staring, touching, even kicking the chair. Some were still braver and took the liberty to sit down. When placed by the wall near the Pit, most students decided to lean against the wall, casually glancing at the chair but for the most part, ignoring its presence. One attempted to sit on the chair but quickly got up, afraid it would break. Sometimes the people who took a seat actually struck a pose. This may be due to an attempt to alleviate the awkwardness of the situation. All these observations suggest that this project was more audience-specific and that if the chair were placed in a different location, it would instigate different reactions. The problem may be that Wake Forest relies too highly on social status for some to risk. When the chair was moved to stand on the walkway between the Pit doors and the wall, there were a lot more responses from the audience. The location of the chair was critical to whether more people interacted with it or not. By placing the chair in the middle of the pathway, it made itself stand out from the ordinary, making a statement to be observed and analyzed. In contrast, its place off to the side could seem unintentional, therefore holding no significance.