May 26, 2021
9.) Are some types of knowledge less open to interpretation than others?
Object 1: Blackout found poem
This poem is part of Austin Kleon’s collection of poems, blacking out words where exposed words form a “found” text different from the original (Kleon, 2021). This object is evidenced in the real world as it’s a news article, used to provide information of the real world manipulated into a poem, used to express opinions of the world.
This object enriches this exhibition as from the perspective of Kleon, it creates a limited universe of words which he must abide by, limiting it to interpretation. In a normal poem, the poet can choose from the entire English language to incorporate his own concepts, deeming it personal expression. Further limiting the expression of his creativity, Kleon erases the thought of the original author. Restricting his word choice and using pre-existing text to convey his poem leads us to question whether the content presented is the poet’s own intuition or his interpretation of random words.
This object has been included in this exhibition as the chosen approach to the poem allows for more interpretation of creative knowledge. The author blackens out words which he deems less important, highlighting crucial concepts in a blunt manner. Rather than guiding us through his perspective, we are encouraged to push the boundaries of meaning. Like the creativity of art which is confined to our imagination, the blackened words provide finite words for us to explore. Forcing us to draw parallels from the few related words, the placement of the exposed words means we try to piece together the original article. The randomness and puzzling nature invites us to be more curious of what’s left out, leaving a greater impression. In a way, we as readers feel like we’ve been manipulated, allowing further interpretation to solve the mystery.
Object 2: My painting of a Church
I painted this church in Yorkshire when I was 12. Since, I learned that churches around the world are built aligned east-west (Winnert, 2013). Looking at a satellite image of this church, at noon – when the image was taken – the shadows were straight as the sun was towards the south. I established that this church was built aligned east-west as evident from the shadows I painted.
This object enhances this exhibition as it illustrates how religious knowledge can be less open to interpretation due to conceptual religious justifications being objective facts. Christian churches hold architectural and liturgical principals. Evidence confirms that prayer rooms have the cross depicted on the east wall. This knowledge is crucial, as Christianity holds importance in facing eastward for prayer, influenced by the pagan practice of praying towards the rising sun (Haffner, 2008). Knowing this now, the detail of the Church built east-west in the painting is an objective belief from the teachings of God. These justified reasonings of architecture from documented literature are facts rather than art, which is open to interpretation. Additionally, religious knowledge needs to be treated sensitively, therefore making this object less open for interpretation.
This painting is particularly interesting for this exhibition, as religious knowledge was subconsciously presented to me, meaning I could link it to visual aspects of the painting, allowing for more interpretation. Considering I was unaware, raw facts of the painting are now replenished with the new knowledge I have now. Now, certain details interest me as I link what I perceive and know. The design and placement of the Church portrays that during prayer, the Church is enlightened by sunrays. When I was painting the Church, I wouldn’t have interpreted the positioning as praying towards light. Knowledge is grounded by personal experiences, so combining the religious context with the visual features of this object, it has allowed me to further interpret the details of religion through light and architecture.
Object 3: One Danish Krone
My next object is the physical token of currency of a Danish krone, translating to crown, where the object has the same name but different values in different countries. In 1873, Denmark, Sweden and Norway established the Scandinavian Monetary Union (SMU). Initially, these countries had a common currency, with equal value, post-WW1, SMU was abandoned, changing the value in all three countries (Mitchell, 2021).
This object exemplifies this exhibition, showing how money is factual and value is limited in interpretation. Money in modern society is crucial to how we view the world and better our quality of living. Every object has a fixed value, its purchasing power doesn’t change depending on who’s spending it. This object has the same value regardless whether a Dane, Brit, a rich or poor person holds the token. For anyone perceiving the coin, the value remains the same. Although the richer person perceives one krone with a neglectful attitude towards its value compared to a poorer individual, the value they place on the coin doesn’t dictate what they can buy with it, therefore the object is less open to interpretation.
The Danish Krone has been included in this exhibition, showing how practical knowledge can be open to interpretation. An occurrence around money is that value of currency differs depending on the country. Money, which we interpret to have a stationary value, isn’t the case in contexts of these countries. Changing the value of this object post-WW1 but the name remaining constant allows for misinterpretation, representing something less or more than in the other countries. People could interpret themselves as rich in Norway and someone with the same coin in Denmark could be interpreted as poor. Although the physical symbolism of the Danish krone and Norwegian krone is almost identical, the interpretation each person has on value and wealth is largely based on perception. The value that an individual associates to this object varies based on money mindset, historical evidence, and financial status, therefore this object is open to more interpretation.
Haffner, Chistopher. 2008. “Out of the question” . CHURCH TIMES. January 8th 2009. Accessed 23/03/2021
Mitchell, Cory. 2021. “DKK (Danish Krone)”. Investopedia. April 13th 2021. Accessed
Winnert, Leon . 2013. “Church Alignment research?”. The Natural Navigator. February 27th 2013. Accessed 23/03/2021
Image 1: Kleon, A. 2009. THE CALL CENTER. Austin Kleon. April 29th 2009.
Image 3: Florino28,2021. “Krone-Margrethe II.Colnect.”. Numista. Accessed 7/05/2021.