Exercise 2.1 Working Objects, Decomposed

Drawing by observation is almost always an abstraction of reality. But some drawings do not originate from reality. They emerge from the fabrication of rules and worlds. These drawings can simulate qualities or mimic characteristics of objects to provide some grounding for familiarity, yet they are not derived from any real thing or phenomenon.

Define 3 key features from your item, and draw them in allover composition. These 3 features should have defining descriptors, such as spiky, pleated, soft, shiny...etc. An allover composition would be one that fills the entire drawing surface, has some repetitive element and defy orientation of the page (there shouldn't be only one way to look at it). All 3 drawings need to be oriented that same way (ie. all portrait or all landscape).

We are deviating from drawing from life to drawing from rules. For this exercise, we are simulating the real through the help of "working objects."

A "working object" is a communal representation of a sector of nature under investigation, used to standardize scientific objects of inquiry. In the context of science, working objects are "not raw nature, they are not yet concepts, much less conjectures or theories, they are the materials from which concepts are formed and to which they are applied." In our case, "working objects" are the drawing methods of each feature under investigation.

Each drawing should be 18x 24in and pinned up in the orientation of your choosing, by 8:00am on Tuesday 3/17.

Materials are limited to charcoal, conte and heavy stock paper.

  • refer to Objectivity by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison
Exercise 2.1 Working Objects, Decompose