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Creation Date

Fall 2016


Materials: found objects, beachcombed materials

The objects found in this display are found in A Tale for the Time Being, a novel founded on a found object (Nao's diary). Bookcases become "tidal shelves," referencing the prominent motif of things washed up onto beaches by tides and waves. Just as the found object initiates a search process in the novel, the found objects here invite a scavenger hunt: identify the objects in these shelves, and find them in the novel.

Slow time exercise for this display:

Scavenger Hunt

The found objects in the Tidal Shelf are intended to initiate a scavenger hunt through the pages of Ruth Ozeki’s novel A Tale for the Time Being. Some of the objects have a one-to-one relationship with objects in the novel. Others may embody one or more of the themes Ozeki treats in the novel. Still others are the artists’ response to an aspect of the text that corresponded to something in their own lives.

  1. Begin your hunt by choosing an object (or objects) from the Tidal Shelf. Study the object closely and write a brief description noting its size, form, color, texture, material(s) and identifying what it is. Imagine that you are writing this for someone who has not seen the object but needs a complete and detailed description to identify it.
  2. Find at least one reference to the object in the text and note the page number. Based on your understanding of the novel, situate your chosen object in the narrative of the novel. What is its significance to the characters? How does it relate to the overarching themes of the novel?
  3. Now think about the object that you have chosen in relation to the exhibition as a whole. What connections might it have to objects in the stone stacks, the palindromes suspended in the stairwell and the cabinets and vitrines? Refer to the accompanying wall texts to get you started.

Keep in mind that your scavenger hunt is not so much a matter of trying to discover the artists’ intentions but rather, a collaboration with the artists to expand the “meanings” of Ruth Ozeki’s book as it is experienced this fall at LMU. The meanings of a work of art and/or literature are in constant flux. The Mona Lisa, for example, does not mean the same in the 21st century as it did when Da Vinci was commissioned to paint it in 1503. Today thousands of people a day crowd around it in the Louvre, multiple books are written about the portrait of Francesco del Giocondo’s wife, songs are sung about the mystery of her smile and reproductions of the painting can be found in every country on the planet. Think of yourselves as working with the artists to make meaning(s) for the exhibition, the book and yourselves.