"A Loving, Inquisitive and Critical Dialogue with the Book of Church Order of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)"
Invisible ink on laser cut water color paper and UV flashlights
This installation was completed in partial satisfaction of my Master's Thesis work for an MFA in Socially Engaged Studio Art at Moore College of Art & Design. This project is what I consider to be a loving, inquisitive, and critical dialogue with a document that has had a surprising and unexpected impact on my life. The Book of Church Order of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is a constitution of sorts that the Presbyterian Church in America uses to govern itself. It spells out everything from the roles of particular kinds of leadership and methods of dealing with conflict and discipline within the church to explanations of particular doctrines held by the denomination. It is full of heavy legal and theological jargon that is at times difficult to understand or read. As a layperson who is still an active member of this community, I believe it is crucial to know what such documents contain and understand how they are used. It is also crucial to illuminate their blind spots.
In this installation, each page of the constitution section of the document (the first 180 pages) has been laser cut into individual sheets of watercolor paper. This simultaneously burns out the words while still leaving the text of the document intact, thereby providing a sort of symbolic permanence and transparency. My own additional engagement has been concealed in invisible ink and is present for viewers to discover on their own terms through the use of UV flashlights. I am also conducting an intervention into the frequently recurring format of “pages intentionally left blank” to have a more in-depth engagement with content that is challenging to me.