work addresses ethically complex circumstances. I am especially interested
in situations that have emerged because of recent scientific discoveries,
particularly innovative approaches to procreation, issues around genetic
relationships, and resulting complex family configurations. These situations
are especially engaging because of the thorny ethical issues that emerge.
Institutions like churches, legal courts, and extended family structures
that traditionally provided moral guidance are themselves in the process
of ascertaining clear positions. Subsequently, such circumstances provide
fertile subject matter for the explorations that occur during a gossip
session. For example, such conversations enable us to clarify assumptions
around the definition of fatherhood when, as a sperm donor, the biological
father's identity is protected.
This project provides a forum in which individuals may thoughtfully explore
their assumptions around a given ethically complicated situation. Gossip
sessions allow groups of individuals to hear a range of presuppositions,
logical arguments, biased opinions, and attitudes that they would never
have considered on their own. The act of gossiping provides a crucial
role in the exploration of a broad range of opposing positions. From a
gossip session, the expressed opinions may significantly affect one's
moral understanding and challenge previous assumptions, or may reinforce
already hardened opinions. While gossip is usually seen in a derogatory
light, it allows individuals to weigh the possible motives for behavior
that is troubling, surprising, offensive, or incomprehensible.
This project consists of three related video apes, 300+ related clips
engraved on small plastic cards, tea, and gossip. In this project, I provide
a safe environment for gossip, by providing all the necessary elements
for the gossip session - a cast of characters, a representation of the
precipitating event, the diverse attitudes, and an environment in which
participants may actively respond to the different opinions. An essential
element of this project is my presence in the gallery space, as available
gossiper. In my absence, blank cards are available for visitors’
responses to the situation.