Unbought Stuffed Dogs was a year-long art blog project I started January 1, 2008. With a few exceptions (when I was away on vacation and had no access to a computer; when I forgot to post), each day I would take one photo, usually of an object or scene around my home or the near vicinity. Using a few online sources, I would extract a line from my horoscope (Capricorn) that may or may not relate to the photo, and post the two parts (image, text) together here online.
What does it mean?
Taken out of context, the horoscope lines I've chosen could apply to any one person on any one day. By selecting an image beforehand, I allowed for a text/image pairing to play against each other and create its own meaning: will this be a successful day for, say, business ventures, or, as the photo suggests, for cleaning my floors? Did the dead wasps on July 26th know that their bright future involved drowning in lemonade within a glass vial? I could have chosen the line prior to taking the photo, but that would have been too easy, as if to state that horoscopes can prognosticate the outcome of events. Instead, I preferred to let the photo be the random piece I made as an artist, and let the horoscope (written by others) inform the photo, which created a third entity: the artwork.
To make this year-long work truly arbitrary would have required me to be blind to either the photo process or the selection of the horoscope line. Perhaps if this had been a collaboration between myself and another artist (one creating the photo; the other selecting text), there may have been more strange pairings then already exist. However, it is my will (and, for the most most part, my home) showing through each entry, which leads to questions of how we interpret and then dictate the outcome of anything we create.
On another note, this blog looks like it is the first iteration of this series. I've had requests from a few people for prints of their favourite entries, and have obliged them with 8 x 10 prints (photo, date, and the accompanying text). These are a series of 2 per entry in order to keep everything under control, otherwise I could be making prints forever. What interests me about doing this is the fact that there is a craving for a physical manifestation of an online experience. For those who followed this blog on a regular basis, I think the feeling was more in tune with the rhythm of reading one's horoscope: a daily affirmation of sorts, or, at very least, a daily curiousity. But if you'd like a print, let me know and we can arrange something. (And then, what next? Calendars? A book? This collection of image/text pairings opens up a lot of ideas to me on how to negotiate and display time-based artwork. Fun.)
Like many blogs out there, it can feel as if one is posting in a vacuum, so I want to say thanks to Shelly, Bonnie, Simon, Theresa and Matt for their steadfast viewership and comments, both online and offline. And to those out there who own mikado plants (and constantly are looking up this blog), I wish you luck: ours died within a few weeks. I think it pined for the swamps of Brazil, and southeastern Canada is too dry and dark in winter for it to thrive. But it makes for a lovely photo.