For a new pedagogical assignment, or what I like to call exercises within projects this past semester, students were tasked with finding or rather looking, discovering, and gathering, what I presented to them as found objects, in the Duchampian tradition of the readymade, the undiscovered potential of everyday objects, but specifically those that the students could, and would discover in and around campus, or their apartments, or anywhere, discarded, abandoned, released into the wild. In my mind, I thought of this as a perfectly normal exercise for sophomores in an interior design course geared toward graphic representation. Though perhaps I was mistaken, as they were not quite receptive to the undertaking of having to pick up trash on their way to school. Trash, being their expression for what I thought was a generally known art and design concept, that of the found object. This was not the case, though. I could chalk some of it up to a reluctance to touch things, based on the pandemic, after contemplating the exercise some more, but I’m not sure that was the real difficulty, or the issue, let’s call it, or a certain reluctance. What was this reluctance and was it specifically related to the pandemic? As I had to push them a bit harder to play with the creative potentials of a remix, or reworking of their archaeological object of the everyday, I was still facing a pushback, this reluctance expanding, broadening, breathing frustration and tension into the classroom. On some level, I think it was a creative block, or a pressure of sorts, that was related to the experimental and a bit outside of the box thinking this non-normative approach introduced. In many ways what I hope to achieve with this assignment or exercise is an expanded awareness of what can be accomplished through the manipulation and change of everyday debris, through experiments within aesthetics, in addition to connecting this to a potential societal shift in the possibilities for waste, sustainability, repurpose, and transformation, wrapped in an archaeological inquiry of the commonplace.
Gregory W. Hurcomb, assistant professor of interior design at LSU, earned a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, a Certificate of General Studies in Photography from the International Center of Photography, and a Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in English Literature & Letters, with a minor in Chemistry, from Rutgers University. His creative work is driven by a certain curiosity in the meeting point of the fine arts (including but not limited to installation, sculpture, photography, film, drawing, and painting), and architectural and interior design. He is inspired and motivated to explore the hybrid processes that are located within the physical and perceptual transformation of space by the mediums of air, light, sound, and structure, all amalgamated into new forms, and potential energies. Gregory W. Hurcomb has exhibited nationally in New York City, NY; Portland, OR; Princeton, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; and San Francisco, CA; and internationally in Athens, Greece; Berlin, Germany; and Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has previously taught at the California College of the Arts, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Davis, the University of Pennsylvania, and the International Center of Photography. In addition, he has been a guest critic on fine art, design, and architecture reviews at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, CCA, Academy of Art University, Woodbury University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently a contributor for the Architect’s Newspaper and has written about art for Art Practical, and on architecture for Architizer. In addition, he is presently a guest artist at the Sally and Don Lucas Artist in Residency Program (LAP) at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA.